Southlands Fruit and Vegetables, Moruya
by Melanie White
The days of floury pears, dry apples and bendy broccoli are over!
Southlands Fruit and Veg gets my tick of approval for locally-grown, fresh produce.
I recently traveled to Perth for a short trip and saw an eye-opening documentary on the plane, about vegetables being grown in countries where they don't normally occur, then being shipped across continents. Like growing imported Irish seed potatoes in the infertile deserts of Egypt, packing them in Scottish peat moss, and shipping to China and Europe! This type of growing is unsustainable (environmentally and economically), and it means lower nutritional value due to unnatural farming practices, out-of-season growing (not ideal conditions) and longer transport and storage time. It may also mean small-time local producers go broke due to the competition driven by commercial growing.
I decided to find one of our local businesses that lives and breathes the ethos of wholesome, locally-grown fresh food, ... someone with the right ethos who supports our local growers and economy. Southlands Fruit and Veg. run by owner-operators Bill and Barb, more than fits the bill.
I have always shopped there because they stock local produce and organic products, along with a few gluten free and imported lines (including some interesting herbs and spices). I wondered; What makes these guys tick? What's their ethos and values? How do they compete with cheap supermarket produce in these economically-tough times?
Upon meeting Bill and Barb, I realised that they are more than just shopkeepers or business people; they actually understand fresh produce. Barb grew up near Crookwell and enjoyed home-grown produce there. Bill used to be a farmer. In talking to him, it soon became apparent that he knew a lot about both organic and commercial vegetable growing. Importantly, Bill and Barb value quality and freshness in the produce they eat themselves and want to provide the same to their customers.
Southlands are able to offer some fresh local and organic produce because they are linked with the small but growing network of local growers. Bill told me that years ago, the Moruya area was the food bowl that supplied fresh fruit and veg to they Sydney markets. Someone else recently told me that the Moruya river flats grew corn. Somehow, this has all been lost along the way, I suspect due to competition from the broadacre farmers and supermarkets which have combined to squeeze out the smaller growers. Bill says there are still a few local growers in the area, including certified organic farmers (and some nearly so), who have managed to hang on and survive.
We're talking lemons from Moruya, organic pumpkins, beans, silverbeet, broccoli and zucchini from Malua Bay, stone fruits from Araluen and milk from Nowra. Aside from the milk which is available all year round, these other produce are available when in season of course, because you can't necessarily get lemons or broccoli in the summer, can you?
That's somewhat of a double-edged sword ! We all want access to top-quality produce that's out of season, but this often means trucking it in from some other country or from interstate ! .. lower nutritional value due to transport and storage time, no dollars for the local economy. We might just be better off to go without our grapes for a few months of the year.
That took us to discussion on competition with supermarkets and their (often) interstate or overseas commercial suppliers which supply year-round, imported produce. Barb says they are able to remain competitive because they have weekly specials tables at the front of the store, where you can buy string bags full of in-season, fresh produce. In fact, Bill says you can buy all your weekly produce from the specials tables for about $20 per week.
We also discussed the higher price of organic produce due to the cost of inspections and stringent regulation, which has unfortunately driven many small organic growers out of business. However, many of our local growers grow without pesticides, they just lack the expensive certified organic seal of approval. This still beats non-organic imported goods, where we lack control over growing conditions, farming practices, fertilizers and sprays.
Finally, on the subject of competition from supermarkets, I am sick of (occasionally) being sucked in by the pre-packed supermarket pears and finding that they?re all hard, bruised and floury. There's no competition in that!
Southlands also has a niche in offering a beautiful gourmet range including goat and sheep milk products, locally made ice cream, gourmet spices, gluten free flours and grains, bags of whole grains, specialty breads including Ezekial bread, fresh herbs and a few eco-friendly grocery items. These are specialty items that you can't find at the supermarket.
Bill and Barb took over the Southlands Moruya shop a few years ago. They employ about 10 casuals locally, and support a network of growers in our local area. That'?s another good reason to drop on in to the Moruya store.
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For more information about healthy shopping for better health, contact me: email@example.com or p; 02 4408 4085.
Melanie White | Holistic Health Advisor
BSc (Hons) Biology X Metabolic Typing Advisor CMTA L1
Bellydance Instructor X Personal Trainer (Cert III / IV)
Ë +61 (02)4408 4085 or Mob 0414 639 754 | + Mossy Point, NSW, Australia 2537 | : www.healthkick.net.au
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