Getting to know your farmer - Andrew Muscat
- By Angie
- 01 Jan, 2021
Get to know your farmers
This is the first post of a short series I want to share with you.
I believe it’s vitally important to support a local food economy. One of small-hold family farms that ensure a productive local food bowl and one that nurtures local community. That is why for Angie’s Food, it was important to me to source as much of my produce as possible, direct from local farmers. The quality is often better, I have a relationship with them, meaning I can ask them to grow things just for me! But I can also take fruit or veggies that have been damaged and not fit for sale at the markets, thus still allowing them to make a profit on the food they grow. Buying direct ensures they make that money for themselves and profits are not cut off the top by large distributors.
So who are my producers?
1 - Andrew Muscat
Firstly, let me introduce you to Andrew Muscat. I’ve known Andrew since 2006 when I first had a market stall next to him. He comes from a family of farmers. He grew up in Australia but his Family originates from Malta. His parents have a farm in the Lower Hawkesbury region, where he learnt how to grow and produce food. Him and his brother then bought the farm next door and started their own business farming produce themselves. They mainly sell to Flemington market but also run a stall at the weekly Carriageworks Markets. He grows a variety of vegetables on his plot. Everything from kale and cauliflower to lettuce and rhubarb. His favourite thing to grow is romanesco. I think everyone’s favourite fibonacci veggie! Andrews says his best seller is his asparagus.
In 2017 Andrew decided that he wanted to grow fruit that simply would not grow in the Hawkesbury region so he purchased a plot at Wombat, near Young in NSW. The cherry growing region of NSW! There he proceeded to grow cherries and plums. These I both source for my range.
The cherries he grows are lappins, supreme, merchants and even some tons. I loved using a mixture of them as some are dark and some are light but all are sweet and seriously juicy. With such a short season, the 4.5 hour drive from Pitt Town Bottoms to Wombat isn’t so bad. Because when the cherries finish, the plums start. He’s harvesting as we speak a Japanese variety called simka. Andrew and his wife welcomed his first little baby into the world this year!
Farming must be for love. Andrew admits the hardest thing about farming is dealing with the extreme weather events. This is something all local farms have had to deal with in spades and it’s during these difficult periods they need the most support. Through fires, floods and drought it’s hard to believe that a strong drive passion can remain but I believe for people like Andrew, farming runs in his blood and there is nothing else he’d prefer to do.
After the January 2020 fires, Andrew experienced devastating floods on his farm. One vegetable that was severely affected was the beetroot. I was so happy to take these damaged beetroot, not fit for the market but still absolutely delicious and used in my Fermented beetroot & apple relish.
See Muscat produce every week at Carriageworks Markets or enjoy my products with his produce. These currently include:
Plum Shrub (2021 batch coming soon)
Many many more to come!