Side hustle to booming micro-business for Gippsland Salt Co

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

What started as a lockdown side hustle for a Gippsland chef has turned into a booming micro-business. Emma Paynter is Executive Chef at the Criterion Hotel in Sale and a lover of salt, smoke, and food preservation in all its permutations.

At this time of the year, she brings out some of her favourite recipes, such as confit chicken and brined, smoked spatchcock. With work at a standstill over winter, Emma started toying with making and marketing her salts. “It came to me at 3 am. I jumped out of bed and had the whole product and business worked out by six,” she says. Assisted by her business savvy wife, Sally Brabham, Emma had the planning, packaging, and all the labelling detail nailed in a few weeks and the product on the shelves by spring.

The product is based on 14 different flavoured salts, all made with different Victorian sourced salts. The other ingredients are as local as the pair can get such as backyard grown chillies, pink peppercorns foraged from peppercorn trees growing on the banks of the Avon River at Stratford and ginger grown in a Gippsland greenhouse.

The Confit Salt is made with coarse crystals and spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, juniper, and pepper. There’s enough to do two large batches of duck legs. Emma also uses it to make a bed on which to roast potatoes for gnocchi or whole pumpkin.

The Bloody Mary Salt is much finer and laden with the flavours of celery, lemon, chilli, and paprika to round out and sharpen a good stiff Bloody Mary.

The Brining Salt is layered with flavours of real bay, kaffir, chillis, and pink peppercorn and is ideal to mix up with water and soak a shoulder of pork before putting it into the smoker.

The salts are widely available in Gippsland food stores and delis and are sold online direct from Emma and Sally.


WHAT: Victorian salt flavoured with Gippsland, and other botanicals
MORE INFO: Gippsland Salt Co

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

OHO Markets – Jewellery Collection

Make Christmas shopping easy and browse our range of unique handmade jewellery.

Whether you are buying for friends, loved ones or teachers, you’ll find something on OHO Markets that they will love and you’ll also be supporting our regional Victorian jewellery makers.

Happy Shopping!

Things Just Got Spicier in Healesville with the Opening of Gewürzhaus

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Just when you thought Healesville and the Yarra Valley could not be more of a foodie destination, Gewürzhaus has come and proved you wrong. Sisters Eva and Maria Konecsny, with some help from mum, opened the first Gewürzhaus in Lygon St, Carlton in 2010. And the brand has grown from strength to strength ever since, having just opened their tenth store, smack bang in the middle of Healesville.

Gewürzhaus (literally spice house) offers more than 300 products to choose from including single origin spices and proprietary spice blends all waiting to entrance your senses. Anyone who cooks with spice understands that freshness and purity are key. So, the ability to buy as much or as little as you need is paramount, one scoop at a time. Spices are also milled and blended in Melbourne with no preservatives added to maintain their high quality.

Gewürzhaus is more than just spices though. They also stock salt, tea, confectionary, homewares for your table & cooking needs, as well as a Christmas range that recalls a wintery Christmas that may only exist in your imagination.

Store design is pared back allowing the goods to take centre stage. Signage on the clear perspex bins features not only a comprehensive ingredient list but ideas on how to use the products. For those who prefer the personal touch, friendly staff know their chops and are on hand if you’ve got questions.

Worse-case scenario you get home and forget what you to do with your newly purchased goodies, their website offers more recipes and hints than a person could reasonably get through in a lifetime. There are a multitude of recipes (including seasonal favourites), How-to guides and a health section with articles on FODMAP cooking that doesn’t skimp on flavour.

A couple must-trys: treat yourself to mukhwas, a post-meal snack of sugar-coated fennel seeds in all their menthol freshness and don’t pass by the Shichimi Togarashi, an increasingly popular seasoning from Japan which includes dried red chilli, dried citrus peel, nori, black & white sesame seeds and more. An essential with your ramen or rice bowl, it is also a surprise winner on freshly popped popcorn.


WHAT: Gewürzhaus
WHERE: 2/262 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
WHEN: Open now

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

OHO Markets – Christmas Collection 2021

It’s that time of year, where we are all starting to think about Christmas and the end of the year (and what a year it’s been).

Why not, give the shops a miss this year and take a browse around the OHO Markets.

You’ll be gifting your friends and family not only a unique gift but also supporting our regional Victoria makers and producers.

Happy Shopping!

Conjuring happy dances for makers – Sarah Jane Jewellery

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

The health pandemic resulted in the cancellation of markets and the closure of retailers everywhere. This hasn’t just been devastating for businesses, but also for those who showcase their works and products within these spaces.

According to teacher and maker Sarah Johnson, however, there is still a multitude of ways consumers can support artists and creators. One half of the creative duo that is Sarah Jane Jewellery, the Gippsland resident says supporting small businesses isn’t just about making purchases.

‘We know that everyone is struggling at the moment, whether it be mentally or financially,’ Sarah says. ‘Small businesses thrive on word of mouth referrals and feedback and sharing or liking of social media posts. Any sales are an added bonus and let’s be honest, always welcome. When you make a purchase from a small business, it makes our heart happy and we do a little happy dance!’

Sarah and her friend of 15 years Jane Irwin have lived in Gippsland their entire lives. As teachers, they say they are grateful to live in a region that is not too far from the city and which boasts premium services and programs catered specifically for children.

‘We are blessed,’ Jane says. While the ladies spend most of their days in the classroom (COVID life notwithstanding), they say they have always enjoyed dabbling in arts and craft ventures – including painting classes, workshops and cooking lessons. But it was during a period of family leave that the pair decided to take this dabbling to the next stage.

‘We began designing pieces by hand, painting every individual wooden bead in addition to hand-rolling each clay bead. We have retired our hand-painted pieces now, (but) we still roll all of our clay jewellery by hand, fingerprints and all,’ Sarah explains.

The current range includes necklaces made from a variety of mediums including clay, felt, wood and silicone, as well as earrings, lanyards, key-rings and DIY kits, with new pieces added regularly – including works for mini fashionistas.

‘We first began our business predominantly through local markets. After we started to create a little interest amongst the locals, we began an online store,’ she says. ‘Seven years later, we are blessed to have our work featured in local galleries and stores across Australia, in addition to being listed on various online platforms.’

As is the case with all artists during this time, there’s no denying Sarah Jane Jewellery has faced its fair share of trials.

‘The biggest challenge is definitely time constraints,’ Sarah says. ‘We have had to make the change to almost solely selling online, so we have had to photograph our entire stock for online stores, keeping up with quantities, orders, enquiries, making and creating, and post office runs while also working full time, engaging our classes in online learning and also just being mums. We have also experienced delays with postage, ordering supplies, sourcing supplies – the list goes on.’

That being said, Sarah says there were some positives associated with the pandemic due to people being confined to isolation. ‘In a ‘normal’ world, we would be attending regular markets and any online sales would be a bonus,’ she says.

But our online business drastically increased throughout the pandemic. We hope that our online sales continue to flourish, with the support of local businesses and online platforms such as One Hour Out, who have enabled small businesses to continue trading during this time.

As well as managing their own side hustle, Sarah and Jane serve in a volunteer capacity on the Gippsland Creators Collective, which operates the largest market in the region.

‘We would love to get back to the market scene,’ Sarah says. ‘We are currently in the process of organising a Creators Collective Christmas Market in Gippsland but, understandably, in a pandemic world, there are many hoops to jump through and boxes to tick to see any large scale events come to life.’

As COVID continues to create endless obstacles for those in the arts industry, they will continue sourcing motivation from their love of making and from connecting with their beloved community. Sarah says. ‘While jewellery making can be relaxing at times, it is also time-consuming. For us, we really value the networking and friendships we have made along the way.’


WHAT: Sarah Jane Jewellery

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Mount Zero Olive’s Zero Waste Market returns with a Halloween twist

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

Halloween is just around the corner, so allow us to paint a truly spooky picture: single-use plastics piled up in your garbage bin, mountains of food waste going direct to landfill, unnecessary air-miles on your favourite snacks. Nightmarish, right?

The team at Mount Zero Olive’s think so too. Committed to sustainable practices, these legends are putting on a Halloween-themed Zero Waste Food Market to get you in the spooky-spirit, while combatting the genuinely scary prospect of an unsustainable future. And best of all, you get to wear a costume.

All of Mount Zero’s delicious products will be available to scoop, bottle and refill as much as you please in your brought-from-home containers, jars and bags. From native and Kalamata olives to grains, pulses, extra virgin olive oils, goats cheeses and salts – and even a sneak peek at their Christmas Hampers – there is plenty to choose from and no limits to the amount you can stockpile.

In fact, everyone is encouraged to bulk up and take part in saving thousands of bottles from the recycling bin. An estimated 300kg of olive and grain packaging is diverted through these markets, so you can know you’re doing your bit to help protect the environment.

Products from other stores will make a package-free appearance to complete the range. There’ll be Market Lane Coffee, Koji & Co for eco-friendly miso, Precycle Pantry for bulk household and pantry items, Girls on Bread for fresh sourdough and Little Wing for condiments and cheesy lasagne toasties.

“It’s been another tough year for our community, so we wanted to make sure we had a bit of fun with our last market of the year,” said Mount Zero General Manager Rich Seymour. “We love to see people’s creativity when we ask them to bring their own containers to our markets – so we look forward to seeing how this extends to their interpretation of sustainable Halloween costumes!”

Shoppers who do rock up in a cozzie will receive a ten per cent discount across all products, and of course, brownie points if it’s made from recycled or repurposed textiles.

The market will run from 9am to 2pm on Saturday 30 October, at the Mount Zero Warehouse in Sunshine West.

WHAT: Mount Zero Olive’s Zero Waste Food Market: Halloween Edition
WHERE: 6 Law Court, Sunshine West
WHEN: 9am-2pm, 30th October 2021
MORE INFO: Mount Zero Olives

Jala Jala, very good chocolate & 100% Aboriginal owned

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Jala Jala founder Sharon Brindley is a Yamatji/Noongar woman living on Bunurong/Boon Wurrung country where she runs the only Indigenous café on the Mornington Peninsula, the Cooee Café. Sharon’s passion for native flavours stems back to her childhood days in Kalgoorlie with her grandmother, where they would spend time in the bush living off the land. As well as the unique flavour profile native foods bring to her creations, it is also their health properties that appeal.

‘I like to incorporate Indigenous ingredients into everyday cooking and showcase to the world the incredible qualities of native plants through delicious treats,’ says Sharon. Though Jala Jala chocolates hit the market in 2020, they’d been some time in the making. ‘It wasn’t meant to be a Covid project. It’s going to be a longevity family business for me. It started with chocolate but I will grow that space. Having a café and losing all our catering certainly gave me time … to ramp it up and bring out the chocolates.’

Jala Jala means ‘very good’ in the Wajarri language and her tight range of chocolate blocks certainly fit that requirement, carefully balancing high-quality cocoa butter with the vibrant tastes of Australian bush foods: Davidson Plum White Chocolate, Wattleseed Mylk Chocolate (vegan) and Finger Lime Dark Chocolate.

‘I wanted to bring out chocolates first to show the amazing flavours we have.’ Future plans include a dessert lime vodka as well as a few health food lines including wider distribution, though the process is anything but swift.

Underneath the sweet story of chocolate though lies a darker thread many a chocolate lover might miss at first glance. The issue is ‘blackcladding’ which as Sharon explains is where an Indigenous person is used by a company so it appears to be a legitimately Indigenous business. Often the Indigenous person is unaware of the subtext for their employment (access to funding/particular markets). Sharon’s top tip when looking for the veracity of a business’s credentials is to look at their ‘about’ section.

‘We proudly say what mob we’re from – that would be my first go to. For example, I’m Yamatji/Noongar. There are so many different chocolate companies out there that resembled being owned by the community through artwork and marketing ploys,’ she explains.

Dot work always sells. I was actually fooled myself by two businesses at the very beginning, thinking they were Indigenous businesses, by how their marketing was structured. That’s why my products say at the very top – 100% Aboriginal Owned Business.

‘I’ve learnt that you are your business and that shines through, whether they’re Indigenous or not, you can tell a business by reading what they’re about. Doing a little bit more homework really helps and I honestly think Covid has made people more aware of what’s happening around them, where things are produced and how they’re packaged.’

Other hurdles she’s experienced are more location-related. ‘In the pandemic, I’m actually classed as metro but pre-Covid, one of the first things I noticed was that people think we’re so far away. People are hesitant when dealing with me because I’m based in Rosebud and they’re based in the city. I had to fight harder to get their business and prove that I can still be there. For me coming up to the city it’s a two-hour round trip with tolls to be able to be just as competitive. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be delivering there but it is challenging time and money wise. ‘

Jala Jala is a brand you can buy first with your heart, but re-purchase with a mind at ease.


WHAT: Jala Jala Treats and Cooee Cafe
WHERE: 1/7 Thamer St, Capel Sound
MORE INFO:  Jala Jala

We wish to acknowledge the Bunurong people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Not-so-general store and cafe LYDIARD General to open in Ballarat

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

A new cafe and general store is set to open up shop in Ballarat later this month. Serving up warming local fare and featuring its own accompanying gift and homewares shop, LYDIARD General has been dubbed a ‘destination to delight’. After selling another business 15 months earlier, owner Rachel Sheehan says the opening of the cafe was a case of the right time and the right business opportunity.

Located in the historic northern precinct of Lydiard Street, the storefront was originally opened in the early 1900s as a greengrocer before being bought by a fruiterer and confectioner. Fast forward 100 years, and the store remains true to its prior life as a retail space. Its interior walls are also covered from roof to floor with the local newspapers of yesteryear as a nod to its rich history.

While LYDIARD general will predominantly be a cafe showcasing local produce and ingredients as much as possible, it will also stock a broad selection of general goods and gifts including indoor plants (Rachel is particularly excited about her cacti range), planters, candles and diffusers, accessories and specially-branded bling.

The cafe’s exterior wall is also adorned with a vibrant floral mural by Ballarat artisan Tegan Crosbie, whose psychedelic earrings will be stocked at the store.

‘It may be small but (the store) will come with a big punch,’ Rachel says. ‘Wait at the window bench, lounge in the laneway, sit inside while you sip on a Coffee Supreme latte, or simply let time pass by.’

Whether it’s a coffee, a crisp toastie, a warming chai or tea, or a window shopping experience, LYDIARD general is indeed set to delight. But the one thing that acts as Rachel’s predominant goal is the creation of community.

‘I want to create a space that is inviting, comfortable and interesting. I want customers to feel at home, nearly like they are at my home, at my kitchen table, having a cuppa and a chat.’


WHERE: 313 Lydiard St North, Soldiers Hill
WHEN: Opening end of October, Monday – Saturday

We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Yarrawonga’s new provedore from Rich Glen Estate brings the goods

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Ros Vodusek’s background as a trained chef is evident as you watch her recipe videos on Rich Glen’s YouTube channel. Her mise-en-place allows her to quickly and seamlessly take the viewer through her simple recipes which highlight the beauty and taste of Rich Glen premium food products – and it all starts from the humble olive.

Located in Yarrawonga, in North East Victoria near the banks of the mighty Murray River is Rich Glen Estate. In 1997 36,000 olive trees were planted on the farm and several years later, the oil began to flow. In the years since, Ros and her husband Daimien have grown the business, now employing 30 people producing over 150 olive-oil based food and skin-care products. And every single one of those products is made on the estate with 100% Australian grown ingredients. Can’t get more local than that!

The three-generation strong family enterprise is showing no signs of slowing, having just opened a new provedore store in the main street of Yarrawonga in a suitably rustic building which embraces its history.

‘It used to be a big old garage a 100 years ago,’ she says. ‘In a few years’ time we plan to gut the whole thing and take it back. Then we’ll have artisan producers, like a beautiful market showcasing regional producers with a coffee roaster, some beautiful pastries and so on.’

In its current incarnation the provedore stocks the estate-produced range of luxurious skincare products, premium pantry staples including oils & dressings, spice rubs and more, as well as a highly curated selection of regional Australian produce.

Everywhere people go, they are looking for what’s made in the area, what’s regional. Food has become the new souvenir. Everyone wants to take something home from the region. I feel that we’ve kind of brought the farm into town.

When asked to name her top picks from the range, Ros doesn’t hesitate.

Poppy’s No1 Dressing was the first product we made and it’s still the most popular one and I guess it’s still my favourite too. It’s something I can’t do without. I love it on corned beef and it’s gorgeous with prawns, as a dipper, or even on a chicken salad. It’s always a staple in my cupboard that’s for sure.’

‘The Bar-B-Q Meat Rub. We’re coming into BBQ season and I can’t have a steak without it really.’

While getting to the new provedore in person is tricky for most of us right now, you can check out the wonderful range of Rich Glen products via OHO Markets.


WHAT: Rich Glen Estate Provedore
WHERE: Shop 3, 137 Belmore St, Yarrawonga
WHEN: Open Mon – Fri 9-4:30, Sat 9-3, Sun 10-3
MORE INFO: Rich Glen Estate

We wish to acknowledge the Yorta Yorta people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Piper St Food Co. Kimchi Pork Pie

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

When Damian Sandercock went to school, he didn’t take a Vegemite sandwich in his lunch box, he had a pork pie. ‘Mum was from Wigan near Manchester and pork pies were a way of life,’ says Damian.

For years the Kyneton chef has been perfecting his range of classic French charcuterie from parfaits to rillettes, carefully hand working his terrines to get the texture balanced between smooth and rustic.

‘I realised that all those classic dishes are the food of the French working class, making something delicious from humble beginnings, the same as the English pork pie. It is food that is delicious and perfect for our new focus on outdoor eating,’ he says. ‘Pies and parfait are perfect picnic fare.’

Damian is an all or nothing sort of bloke and goes as far as rendering the lard to make the pastry for his pies. These are hand formed and packed with spiced, coarsely minced pork and sealed with aspic.

His traditional English pork pies have been joined by a new range that includes flavours like jalapeno, apple, sage and mustard, chorizo and now kimchi. They sound novel but Damian has created recipes that have balanced flavours that work with the pork and the pastry.

A mate makes the kimchi for us. The flavours of fish sauce, garlic, ginger and chili, plus the crunch of the veg, works for even most traditional pork pie lovers.

The flavoured range is not topped with aspic and can be heated. The pies have been complemented with a range of pickles that include an authentic English style piccalilli made with cauliflower with mustard seed and turmeric.

Piper Street Food Co.’s pies, terrines, preserves and charcuterie are available from the Kyneton store or are delivered monthly around Melbourne and North and Eastern Victoria.


WHAT: Piper Street Food Co. pies and preserves
WHEN: Available now
MORE INFO:  Piper Street Food Co.

We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.