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.


THE DETAILS

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.


THE DETAILS

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.

 

Kristen Proud shares how her bookstore sheds warmth amidst the crisis

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Kristen Proud had just completed Grade 4 when she learned how to read.

‘I come from quite a tumultuous background, so I moved schools eight times in primary school,’ the bibliophile says. ‘That meant the schools and teachers couldn’t support my learning.’

While Kristen didn’t learn to read adequately until later in primary school, it didn’t wane her desire to open a bookstore when she grew older. But it wasn’t until four and a half years ago that her dream was finally fulfilled.

Driving along Kyneton’s High Street (while on maternity leave), she and her partner saw an empty shopfront and jokingly remarked that maybe it was time to open up shop. ‘We joke now that if I hadn’t been so sleep deprived it probably would never have happened,’ Kristen laughs.

And so it was, after the birth of her daughter Vega, that Squishy Minnie was also born. Located in the heart of Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges, the indie bookstore conjures up feelings of warmth, community, nostalgia and connection.

Kristen says one of her venture’s primary aims is to connect with individual hearts through the power of stories.

‘Stories connect us and reflect ourselves, but also they help us understand other people’s experiences,’ she says.

‘Regional people, in particular young people, don’t have as much access to literature to have that connection with books. So they might be coming to Squishy Minnie and going through the books like a library, or we might have authors come to the store because they want to share their love (of books).

I want for young people and kids to have access to literary events and leave here feeling nourished.

Kristen says she hopes young people will also be inspired by her own story, and realise you don’t need to be an advanced reader to lead an enriched life. Immersing herself in The Baby-Sitters Club and books from the likes of John Marsden at a young age, she says there were specific authors that particularly resonated with her and helped form her passion for books.

‘Life wasn’t easy as a teenager, so I found solace in John Marsden and other young adult novels. I felt like I was being heard and seen.’

Growing up under difficult circumstances, Kristen affirms her testing life imbued in her the capacity to overcome difficulties.

For this reason, she believes she was able to efficiently navigate through the trials of running a business during a global health pandemic. With a Masters in Public Health, Kristen made the decision to close Squishy Minnie early last year – before the effects of COVID were fully realised in Australia.

‘I was hearing things from our friends overseas and waiting for our government to do something and they didn’t,’ she recalls. ‘It was March during one of our Storytime sessions, which are always very busy, and I was watching the kids touch the books and thought, if anyone in this room had COVID, we would all contract it.

‘We made a decision to close early and I was sick to the stomach about it. I had this sense that people would think I was crazy and fear mongering.’

While the shop closed its doors to the public, Kristen swiftly implemented a number of tactics in order to maintain connection with community. Online shopping was further promoted, book clubs moved to an online platform, and Storytime was also hosted online by her much-loved partner Lucky – attracting up to 200 people every week.

‘I think if you are in the face of adversity, you just think, how do you move through that or around it,’ she says.

That being said, the COVID lockdowns still had a severe impact on business, especially since the shop’s main visitation was from regional Victoria.

‘This year has been particularly hard because people from regional Victoria haven’t been able to come and pick up their books, which has been particularly disastrous,’ she says. ‘We sold more online that I thought we would, but still made a huge loss.

‘The nature of our business is that it’s very tactile. We want people touching books and opening them up and looking at them, and we’ve spent years telling our customers that they can do that. So then to retract that is hard.’

Having lived in Kyneton for about eight years, Kristen firmly believes the town’s strong sense of community is one of its most alluring attributes.

Makes sense then, that her bookstore too strives to bring people together under the banner of community. COVID or not, this will always be the case.

‘People here care about their neighbours and it’s hard to quantify, but it makes life warm and rich,’ she says.

‘We are taking it one day at a time and thinking a lot about what young people are going to need moving forward and how stories or books might play a role in that.

‘For us it’s not really about selling books, but really about being a community space which celebrates literature.’


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Squishy Minnie Bookstore
WHERE: 6 High Street, Kyneton
FIND OUT MORE: squishyminnie.com.au

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

OHO Markets – Spring Collection 2021

Spring is all about days getting longer, sunnier skies and we just can’t help feeling optimistic.

OHO Markets Spring Collection is blooming with new additions from our regional artists and producers. Whether you’re itching to get stuck into the garden or lucky enough to be planning a weekend away, we’ve the goods to make your days brighter.

So much to choose from and all direct from a regional maker delivered to your door.

Vibrant lifestyle precinct to open in the historic Goods Shed, Ballarat

Images Supplied

Just weeks after being crowned Victoria’s Top Tourism Town 2021, the news is out that Ballarat will be home to a major new retail, hospitality and entertainment precinct, The Goods Shed.

Opening in October this year, the project is a substantial redevelopment of heritage-listed goods shed adjacent to Ballarat Train Station and will see a variety of spaces for eateries and local retailers open up, as well as a Convention centre, outdoor plaza and even a Quest hotel, making it the perfect spot for a weekend hangout.

The restoration and revival is being championed by revered building group Pellicano in partnership with Atlantic Group, who have set the intention of creating a warm, thriving hospitality and lifestyle hub. An all-day cafe featuring fresh, local produce is set to star, as well as an Asian grab-and-go kiosk for dumplings and more, while a local brewery and gin offering – Melbourne’s Little Lon bar – will be serving drinks into the night.

Punters who fancy more than just filling their bellies can pop down to the state-of-the-art theatrette for a local play, TED Talk, independent movie screening or conference, or soak up the thriving scene in the landscaped community and events plaza. While the collection of private events spaces curated by Atlantic Group are aimed at weddings, corporate events, social gatherings and parties, if their previous spaces are anything to go by, these venues are going to look amazing.

The Goods Shed Ballarat has been made possible with a $28 million Victorian Government investment in the Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment, and from what we can see, it’s going to pay off.


THE DETAILS
WHAT: The Goods Shed
WHERE: Corner Lydiard Street North and Nolan Street, Ballarat
WHEN: October 2021
MORE INFO: The Goods Shed

OHO Markets – Lockdown Shopping Ideas

We know it’s a tricky time for everyone as we go through lockdown 6.0, so what else are we going to do except shop our way through it 🤷‍♀️

To that end, we’ve pulled together a collection to help inspire you to try something new, decorate your home or just make yourself feel good inside.

And to top it off, you’ll be supporting a regional Victorian maker or producer along the way.

Happy Shopping.

Guilt-free fashion that turns trash into treasure

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.”


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Single Use Multiverse
FIND OUT MORE:  OHO Markets

Something To Be Bitter About

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.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: New Release Amari
WHEN: This winter
MORE INFO: Go to the website to get on the mailing list.

OHO Markets – Winter Collection 2021

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.