Words by Della Vreeland Images Supplied
They say in the midst of chaos, there is always opportunity. And this was most certainly the case for Jessica Yorston. Her jewellery-making story started last year as she was dealing with the chaos of managing an ailing tribe.
“I was home with sick children, looking at all the single-use plastics, and I thought ‘what can I make with this? Let’s make something useful, and potentially nice to look at.”
After some quick scouring online, Jessica came across videos of people melting plastics using sandwich presses. And so started the Single Use Multiverse (SUM) journey.
Having studied Fashion Design at RMIT and with years of practical experience, including the creation of her own ethical fashion label, Jessica already had an eye for good design and a passion for sustainable practices. It was just a matter of harnessing these into another medium.
Disheartened by the copious amount of waste produced by the fashion industry, Jessica decided to use her creative prowess to make a difference.
I’d arrived at the realisation that I couldn’t bear to make anything from new materials and to be honest, I was completely over the fashion industry – so wasteful and vacuous.
“I was about to begin studying something completely not-fashion, when the maker in me began playing around with creating colourful sheets by melting waste plastic.”
“It’s been deeply exciting to continue creating products by turning trash into treasure for our ears. The awful feeling that my creating was contributing new matter to the huge expanse of it wrecking the earth, was gone.”
“It’s so satisfying.”
Jessica’s statement earrings are bright, bold and edgy – certain to make an impression.
Her items are made from 100 % recycled single-use plastics such as milk cartons, straws, plastic lids, shampoo bottles, pot plants, formula lids and more. Using a portable oven, Jessica melts the plastics into colourful sheets before cutting the eclectic shapes that form her earrings.
A Blackwood resident, she says her lush and serene home provides the perfect backdrop for the forging of eco-friendly products.
According to Jessica, she’s become the “crazy plastic-collecting lady”, with her fellow Blackwood comrades encouraging her and supporting her along every step of this creative journey.
“We were living in Melbourne, but finding ourselves chasing trees on nearly every day off. So we thought, let’s just live where we want to be on our days off,” she says.
“Besides the very beautiful forest setting, and the dreaminess of being able to wake up to it every morning, the creative community here is epic! Lots of talented and friendly characters experimenting in their fields – it’s inspiring.”
“I also love the amazing encouragement I receive, in the form of words and plastic donations. All the local townsfolk leave bags of their single-use plastics at the top of my driveway, or in their letterboxes for me to collect. It’s brilliant! I’ve also got some amazing neighbours who help me process the plastics for melting by washing and chopping it. Carbon emissions are low!”
While Jessica’s business is primarily based online, with the exception of a few stockists around the state and the odd market appearance, she says the onset of COVID didn’t have too drastic an impact on her – even though she started just as the pandemic hit.
“Perhaps I was at an advantage as people were online more,” she says.
“It was really nice being able to connect with people, through social media platforms, regarding what I was making. Lots of lovely Instagram chats with people excited about my materials and process, which helped ease the bizarreness of that first lockdown.”
What did have an impact on Jessica’s creative process, however, was the fierce storms that hit the community of Blackwood and its surroundings earlier this month.
Jessica says the whole landscape changed as a result, and her business faced a temporary halt.
“I couldn’t melt plastic with no power!” she says.
“I’ve been so blessed to have so many earring orders, both wholesale and online, that I had absolutely no backup stock before the storms.”
“Every pair has been made to order the last few months, so no power meant my lovely customers had to wait longer for their orders.”
“But I’ve been so blown away by everyone’s understanding and patience.”
WHAT: Single Use Multiverse
FIND OUT MORE: OHO Markets
Words by Richard Cornish Images Supplied
Beechworth Chef Michael Ryan has just announced his new foray into the world of cocktail bitters and bitter after-dinner drinks with his new company Beechworth Bitters Company.
Through it, Michael produces a range of handmade bitters for use behind the bar plus artisan amaro, inspired by Italy’s range of after-dinner digestifs. “During lockdown, I went through the dry store in the restaurant and pulled out a range of botanicals I had acquired with the view to making bitters,’ says the chef of award-winning Provenance Restaurant.
He takes botanicals such as garden variety wormwood – used in absinthe, and exotic dried barks and roots such as cinchona and gentian. These are steeped in very potent high-grade alcohol for several weeks. Some botanicals, like cherry pip, don’t release their aromas and flavour in alcohol. Instead, these need water into which their flavourful compounds are dissolved. Michael uses the flavoured water to dilute the flavoured alcohol.
He also makes extracts of citrus, flowers, woody spices like cinnamon, vegetables, and native herbs. “If it stands still long enough, I will make an extract from it,” he says. He has created a library of over 130 different single botanical infusions from which he carefully blends his drinks.
Amaro means bitter in Italian and is a drink taken at the end of the meal to aid digestion.
His range of five Amari (the plural of amaro in Italian) will be released this winter. There are only 650 bottles that have been made in this first batch. The public is being invited to sign up to his mailing list to be informed of the release.
The first is Beetlejuice made with extracts of citrus, rhubarb, flowers, blood orange, and the insect cochineal – hence the name Beetlejuice.
Orchard Amaro is bright and citrusy with extracts of local yuzu, bergamot, lime and orange with 32 other botanicals. With a gentle bitter taste, Michael describes it as the ‘gateway amaro’.
The B8, not V8, is made with a blend of vegetable extracts and is seriously savoury, especially when it is made with kombu and koji.
If you like cherry and chocolate, then you will love A Walk in the Black Forest. Woody and spicy, the addition of a sweet caramel balances the bitter herbs.
Finally, there is Up To Eleven, an amaro in which everything is turned up to 11. An amaro with Australian native herbs, hints of mint, and spruce.
WHAT: New Release Amari
WHEN: This winter
MORE INFO: Go to the website to get on the mailing list.
Winter has truly come in Victoria, which doesn’t make much difference considering we are all locked away due to Coronavirus.!
Fortunately for you, the team at OHO is bringing the country markets to you this year. Take a look through out Winter Collection and grab yourself, or someone you love, a unique treat from a regional artist or producer.
Lovers of local produce (and cottagecore), prepare to be delighted. There’s a new fairy tale-esque provedore gracing the bustling township of St Andrews. It’s focus? All the interesting, unique products you won’t find anywhere else.
Perched on top of a grassy slope, overlooking the Queenstown Bushland Reserve, the newly minted St Andrews Collective has swung open its doors to locals and travellers alike, selling produce that’s equal parts delicious and delightful.
The storefront is curated and owned by St Andrews local Nicole Milella whose career in hospitality spans almost a decade. After several months of planning during the lockdown period, Milella has brought together a sumptuous selection of nibbles, dry goods and even handmade and vintage homewares to please even the most selective shopper – all from producers less than thirty minutes away.
Lining the wooden shelves are loose-leaf teas from the Yarra Valley Tea Co, artisan cheese courtesy of Jack Holman at Stone and Crow (vegan cheese included), rich preserves and cordials made by Spurrell Foraging, herbs and spices, olive oils and so much more. Milella has even curated her own cheese boards which can be purchased and happily eaten just outside, in a shady spot on the grass.
If you forgot to bring a picnic blanket, don’t worry, Milella has also got a selection of vintage picnic rugs and baskets for sale. There’s even dried native flowers and hand-thrown pottery ready for the picking if you fancy making a really Insta-worthy spread.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the perfect provedore without some kind of wine involved and this is where St Andrews Collective truly shines. Situated right next door is Punch Room Wines, a killer local cellar door, who have teamed up with the shop to create cheese and wine pairings. Guests can grab a cheese board, walk into the cellar door for a glass of red or white and enjoy everything St Andrews has on offer.
For now, St Andrews Collective is open on Saturdays only, but with tentative plans to open on Sundays as well. Occasional fresh produce courtesy of a local market gardener will be available, as well as unique fresh goods from Spurrell Foraging.
WHAT: St Andrews Collective
WHERE: 10 Scott Street, St Andrews
WHEN: Saturdays 9am-3pm
MORE INFO: St Andrews Collective
Words by Della Vreeland Images Supplied
Yarrawonga’s Vodusek family wants to create a special sort of culinary experience for its customers – one that is instilled with passion, sustainability and gratitude.
“We are passionate about the land, what we grow, harvest and create,” Ros Vodusek says.
We want to share and educate people about where their food comes from and be grateful to our fellow farmers.
With 35 years of experience as a chef, Ros is the frontwoman of Rich Glen – a farm that specialises in the production of olive-based products.
Managing the farm alongside her husband Daimien, and with help from her four children, she says the family brings a combined five generations of agricultural knowledge to the fore.
Rich Glen’s first olive trees were planted in 1998, with the first harvest taking place in 2003.
At first, the farm started selling bulk oil, but later took on a more viable business model which involved the manufacturing and selling of olive-oil products.
Ros and Daimien took over the Estate from Daimien’s parents in 2000 at which point they began selling olive oil from the back room of their Edwardian home.
Throughout the whole journey, the ethos of sustainability has underpinned the farm’s operations – from the implementation of water-efficient methods to the sourcing of sustainable raw materials and, more importantly, supporting other companies that share similar values.
“We are always looking at planting new crops to improve yield and improve the overall health of the soil,” Ros says.
“We are incredibly passionate about operating all aspects sustainably, from the agricultural side of the business to the manufacturing and distribution of our skin-care range.
“This allows the next generation coming up through the business to learn the importance of making smart, long-term decisions and forming a sustainable and environmentally friendly business model.”
The Rich Glen product range includes 150 olive-oil based food and skin-care products produced on the estate, as well as a variety of pantry staples such as meat rubs, dukkah, dressings, cordials and honey.
“Our Olive Oil is grown, harvested and pressed on our farm, so we believe we have the freshest and healthiest Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) possible,” Ros says.
“We love how versatile EVOO is, and we showcase that throughout our Nourish, Nurture and Radiance product range. It is simply the essential ingredient.
“We manufacture our entire range without the use of unnecessary artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives. Every ingredient on our nutritional panel is a single ingredient item that anyone could recognise.”
As well as producing their own olives, Rich Glen also manufactures its products on-site using ingredients, packaging and labels from Australian-made companies.
While Coronavirus presented a number of challenges for the Voduseks, namely the closing of their farmgate store and the loss of employees, Ros says it was also an opportunity for the business to reinvent itself and think more creatively about how to showcase Rich Glen’s premium offerings.
“Our journey here on the farm has been such a thrill. Every day is unique, challenging and simply creative,” Ros says.
“I love having the ability to wake up each day and do what I love, sharing this exciting journey with my husband and four kids.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of creating Rich Glen has been the ongoing positive feedback we receive each day. From a new customer discovering a new product and loving it, to a parent finally sourcing a natural skin-care product to use on their child’s eczema.
“We are always overwhelmed with the amount of people’s lives that we have the opportunity to influence each day positively.”
As the air chills and slowly canopies across the landscape take on yellows and orange hues, it’s time to share our Autumn collection from the OHO Markets.
Whether you’re seeking a gift or just something to spoil yourself, you are sure to find something unique from our collective of regional makers and producers.
Don’t forget those all-important dates this season; Easter and Mother’s Day.
West Gippsland is being placed on the culinary map thanks to Cheffield Provedore’s upcoming storefront.
We’ve all heard of East Gippsland, South Gippsland and even good old North Gippsland – but rarely does one hear the words “West Gippsland”, even in culinary circles. And it’s surprising when you look at the sheer volume of farms in operation. But all that is about to change with the opening of Cheffields Provedore: your one-stop shop for all high-quality meat, milk and cheese produce from the west.
Operating for over twenty years as a wholesale food distributor for restaurants, cafes and hotels, Cheffields Provedore acts as the glue keeping Gippsland farmers together. At the helm is Andrew and his wife Kristy, two chefs-come-farmers with an unrivalled passion for the region. They say their love for Gippsland’s produce has inspired the shift into a retail environment.
“We’re passionate food people. We just love what we do and we’re lucky to live in the region we do,” Andrew says. “We’re excited to impart the knowledge we’ve gained over time [about the region] and share it with customers.”
The storefront will be selling the restaurant-quality Gippsland meat, professionally cut and ready to take home. There’ll be slices, sausages and burgers each prepared with unique String and Salt spice blends (no pre-mixed stuff here), alongside creamy Jersey milk from Caldermeade Farm, assorted cheeses from Maffra Cheese, wood-fired Scotch oven bread from Cannibal Creek Bakehouse and so much more.
For Andrew, connecting customers with farmers and vice versa is a part of what drives him. Where often the line of communication halts at the farmgate, at Cheffields Provedore, buyers can discover the history of their food, learn the names of those who cultivated it and relish in the story behind the taste. It’s a gratifying experience for the customer and gives the farmer the recognition they so deserve. Andrew calls it “better life produce”, and we can understand why.
Opening at the end of April from Monday to Friday, all this goodness will be served from Cheffields Provedore’s processing facility in Warragul, so easily accessible for city-dwellers. Expect to be served one of the long-standing staff members with plenty of West Gippsland stories to tell. You might even learn a recipe or two.
WHAT: Cheffields Provedore Store
WHERE: 24 Masterson Court, Warragul
WHEN: End of April, 2021
MORE INFO: Cheffields Provedore
Artisan local produce, aromatic coffee and community spirit is flowing at Soul Geelong.
The Danish have a word for a mood of relaxation, indulgence, and wellness. They call it ‘hygge’ (you may have seen it in a Scandi architecture book), and though it has no direct translation in English, the word ‘cosy’ comes close.
If we had to describe Newcomb’s newest cafe and gourmet grocer Soul Geelong, we’d use hygge. The atmosphere of the place harks back to a simpler, cosier, more grounded time – when things were done slowly and intentionally, and items bought were designed to nourish and bring joy.
Created entirely by Geelong local Madelin Stone, Soul is all about sustainability and supporting local businesses. Around 95 per cent of all grocery items are sourced directly from Victorian producers, meaning you can discover the best of regional Victoria within the four freshly painted walls.
Shoppers can mosey about, picking up pantry items like extra virgin olive oil from Lighthouse, handmade pasta by Otway Pasta Company and a dozen fresh eggs from Caravan Eggs. For the fridge, there is full cream milk by Joneseys Dairy, camembert from Milawa Cheese, a range of delicious dips from Castlemaine dips, plus so much more.
Madelin has even created a range of her own products to indulge in. From sprays to rollers and bath salts, her collection is a perfect addition to the local craft scene and can be found in store.
As for the cafe side of things, the airy, light-filled space with a large communal table, fresh flowers and polished concrete floors make for a very hygge latte-sipping setting. Cartel Coffee Roasters beans are on rotation, as are Ket Baker sweet treats and pastries to complete the outfit. You’ll be feeling like a Scandinavian novel character as you sip a long black, watching passersby from the small window ledge outside the shop. It doesn’t get better than that.
WHAT: Soul Geelong
WHERE: 58 Charles Street, Newcomb
WHEN: Open Tuesday – Friday, 7am-3pm
MORE INFO: Soul Geelong
If you’ve ever thought how arbitrary excess packaging is, or wanted to reduce your environmental footprint, then shopping zero waste is for you.
Of course, it’s usually a lot easier said than done, especially when you’re shopping for food – whether it’s pantry or fridge items. But the guys at Mount Zero Olives are a major leap in front of the crowd with their biannual Zero Waste Warehouse Market.
Coming to us this February 27th, the Zero Waste Market is offering up bulk purchases of their award-winning olives, olive oils, grains and pulses straight from the barrel. All you need to do is BYO vessel, whether it be a jar, Tupperware, bucket or produce bag and fill it up to your heart’s content.
All the fan-favourites are on offer, including Mount Zero’s range of naturally fermented olives, a selection of the finest Extra Virgin Olive Oils straight from the tank, plus limited seasonal EVOO blends. As for the pantry staples, there is locally grown quinoa, Persian red lentils, French-style green lentils, chickpeas and loads more to stock up on. Of course, the incredible, mineral-rich Pink Lake Salt from Dimboola is joining the party too.
In true Mount Zero fashion, the fun doesn’t end at the products. The quirky brand has teamed up with Miznon chef Afik Gal for a one-hour Hummus Masterclass compered by food writer Dani Valent. That part is ticketed, with limited space available, so be sure to get in quick smart to learn the ins and outs of the best dip in the world.
Plus, there are a few additional local makers tagging along for the ride; Sunshine Honey with honey sold by weight, eggs from the Nomadic Chooks at Tom’s Paddock and refills of eco-friendly, low-mile cleaning and body products from the Roving Refills team, to name a few.
It’s all happening at Mount Zero’ Sunshine West warehouse, so you don’t even need to drive to the Grampians to get your fix. Chuck the (sparkling clean) containers in the car and enjoy the greatness that is premium produce, sustainably sold.
WHAT: Mount Zero Olives Zero Waste Warehouse Market
WHERE: Mount Zero Warehouse, 6 Law Crt, Sunshine West
WHEN: Saturday 27 February, 9am-2pm
MORE INFO: Mount Zero Olives