Local a selling point at Evandale
Story and photos: Russ Grayson
TO JUDGE BY THE SIGNS on farmer’s market stalls, food grown locally seems to be something of a specialty at Evandale market. A recent visit disclosed sign after sign on a number of stalls advertising the localism of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit.
Some stallholders sell organic fruit and vegetables although these are not certified organic, leaving it to the buyer to decide whether or not to trust the seller. Like Sydney’s urban fringe farmers, most of those selling at Evandale are from non-English speaking backgrounds, mainly people from Asia.
If you come here at the right time of year, look for the stallholder selling heaped, overloaded punnets of Tasmanian berry fruits, including delicious redcurrants, strawberries and raspberries. At any time of year there are jams made from local fruits, Tasmanian honey and other bottled preserves.
An island set up for locally produced food
Tasmania, as an island with a decentralised population (approximately half, around 200,000, live in the capital, Hobart; around 70,000 occupy Tasmania’s second city, Launceston; the remainder are scattered through Penguin, Burnie, Huonville and lesser centres), is ideally suited to the development of small, family owned farms that could feed its population centres with perishables, dairy and other foods. In comparison with the mainland (the rest of Australia, that is) the soils are fertile and the island is well-watered. Occupying a cool temperate climatic zone, a wide variety of culinary herbs, fruit and vegetables can be produced, as well as dairying and fisheries including the fish farms that are already established. The good news for orchardists is that there is no fruit fly in Tasmania.
Evandale is not the only source of fresh foods available from weekly markets. Tasmania’s renowned leatherwood honey, so-called for the leatherwood tree that the bees harvest and that grows in the cool temperate rainforest, is readily available. A local apiarist was found enthusiastically selling his product at Exeter market in the Tamar valley, approximately 20 minutes drive north of Launceston, not far from the popular Exeter Bakery.
In Hobart, too, food localism is a selling feature with stallholders at the Saturday Salamanca Place markets having notices advertising ‘local grown’. ‘No Spray’ was also noticed on products.
Evandale markets are open every Sunday morning. A charge of 20 cents is made for entry.
Evandale is about a 20 minute drive south of Launceston. Follow the highway past the airport and watch for the turnoff sign.
It is an old town and those with an interest in history and architecture might like to walk its streets to view the Georgian buildings, both domestic and commercial. The town also has a number of antique shops, art galleries and, for the hungry, cafes.