Bright and early every Saturday morning Jamie and I drive down to the Barossa Valley Farmers Market. Please allow us to introduce you to some of our favorite farmers.
Kaysim and Reyhan grow their fresh, tasty vegetables on their family farm in Murray Bridge, and sell them from a huge stall that sits just outside the main building. Their premium quality seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices can also be found at many Barossa Valley restaurants.
Jamie always begins outside at the vegetable stand, but I have different priorities. While she’s poking and prodding and squeezing the veggies, I scurry inside to Eleni’s bakery stall in the rear corner of the building. Most weeks I purchase one of her delicious chocolate croissants, but sometimes I get really adventurous and go for a cinnamon bun.
In recent weeks I’ve begun a new tradition of purchasing croissants and cinnamon buns for the Chicklettes (more about them a little later).
My second stop is the stall where Robin Day sells his eponymous brands of balsamic and olive oil. Robin spent many decades traveling the world as a vintner-for-hire and itinerant wine merchant. Each week he tells me a dirty joke and hands me another chapter of his yet-to-be-published autobiography. The man has lived an incredibly interesting life and his writing brings all those remarkable stories to life.
After saying goodbye to Robin, I stroll over to the Trevallie Orchard stall, where I can usually find Jamie yukking it up with her good friend Sheralee. Trevallie is the only remaining commercial orchard in the Barossa Valley, which is quite sad really because it was once as famous for its fruit as it is now for its grapes.
Trevallie specializes in handpicked fresh and dried fruit —fresh, crispy apples, juicy pears, apricots and peaches. Each week we buy a bag of delicious dried apricots, which I munch on for the next seven days. Soooo good.
Sheralee is another one of those Barossans who has been kind enough to adopt the two wayward Americans. The highlight of our week is driving out to Sheralee’s farm for pizza baked in her own outdoor pizza oven. Partner Greg, perhaps the Barossa’s finest pizza chef, is funnier than hell and their son, Eamon, and daughter, Callie, are my favorite teenagers.
UPDATE: Greg, a delicate snowflake if there ever was one, informs me that he feels shortchanged because I referred to him only as “perhaps the Barossa’s finest pizza chef.” He feels he deserves far broader recognition. Something like “South Australia’s finest pizza chef” or maybe even “Australia’s finest pizza chef.” You just can’t satisfy some people.
Directly across the aisle from Sheralee lies the Jersey Fresh Dairy stall. Operated by sisters Amy McDonald, Lisa Werner and Paula Menzel, Jersey Fresh is perched on the west end of the Barossa Valley, where it produces award-winning pouring cream, dollop cream, full and skim milk. But I visit to stock up on one of their newer products, a delicious iced coffee brand named Moo Broo, which I mix into my daily protein shakes.
That’s Lisa in the photo. Oddly enough, she gets more than just a little titillated by the American pronunciation of the word “orange.” Being the giver I am, I say it for her every week.
Jersey Fresh reminds me of life growing up on a dairy. Their milk isn’t homogenized, so a thick layer of cream always rises to the top of the bottle, and it has to be shaken before being poured. Mmmmmmmm.
John and Hannah run 1,200 head of chickens on their Abelsway Farm in the Hallelujah Hills. Clearly, I know nothing about chickens and I doubt if they are “run” like cattle, but so be it. Jamie and I agree that they produce the freshest, juiciest, tastiest chicken we’ve ever eaten. Apparently others agree, because business is so good that they are currently gearing up to double their production.
I’m not allowed to do any advertising work while we’re here on tourist visas, but I have a rough idea for a future ad campaign for Abelsway Farm. It all revolves around Hannah, who I have dubbed the “Chicken Chick;” John, the “Chick Magnet;” and their four beautiful daughters, the “Chicklettes.” Jamie tells me I can never present it to them because it is mildly offensive, and they aren’t.
John and Hannah have also taken us under their wings (chicken wings, perhaps) and occasionally invite us out to Abelsway Farm for delicious dinners. Yes, chicken may possibly show up on the menu.
These are just a few of our favorite farmers. Other stalls feature other farmers selling a wide assortment of tasty products — Barossa Kilkea Garlic, Birdwood Venison, Gumshire Pork, McLachan’s Smokery, Zimmerman’s Fishery, Barossa Bagels, Barossa Valley Ice Cream, Mehl Sourdough, German Cakes, The Barossa Patissier, Barossa Nourish Muesli, Jay’s Chilli Bar, Jo’s Jams & Treats, Wiech’s Barossa Valley Egg Noodles, Barossa Distilling Company, and many more.
We usually arrive at the market very early in the morning. By the time we leave, one musical group or another is entertaining the crowd right outside the front door. This week it was a ukulele band.
The Barossa Valley Farmers Market. What’s not to love?