Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published October 7th 2013
You may, as you go bowling down Gnangara Road, perhaps on your way to your daughter's dance recital or your son's violin practice, have noticed a modest building tucked away on Edgecombe Brothers' land.
This is Maggie's Place, a Farmer's Market haven for the dedicated locavore.
Maggie of Maggie's Place (Photo courtesy Maggie's Place)
A locavore for those that are unfamiliar with the word (as I was) is someone who wants to eat locally produced fruits and vegetables, increasing their enjoyment of the food and helping the environment by reducing the distance foodstuffs have to be trucked.
Tomatoes at Maggie's Place (Photo by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
At least one definition of 'local' indicated anything within a hundred miles. That seems to me excessively generous. For example, if Maggie wants to source the best available asparagus, she walks less than a hundred yards to Edgecombe Brothers for all she can carry - a carbon footprint of zero.
Maggies Place is the brainchild of Maggie Edmonds, a charming lady of a long-established farming family who together with her husband grew olives and passionfruit.
Local Produce at Maggie's Place (Photo by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
As well as her agricultural efforts Maggie was involved in promoting agriculture in general. She was heavily involved in the foundation of the WA Olive Festival and her efforts were rewarded by the WA RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year Award in 2008 and runner-up in Australia.
The award came with a modest bursary expected to be expended in promoting some form of rural activity.
And so she started 'Maggie's Place', on the land owned by Edgecombe Brothers, long time family friends.
Cumquats at Maggie's Place (Photo by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce)
Maggie's Place is devoted to fresh and to local, consequently the foodstuffs are exceedingly seasonal.
In this season of early spring around the Swan Valley, farmers and small-holders are growing celery, cabbages, caulis, broccoli, lettuce, kale, beetroot, pumpkins, carrots, parsnips, turnips and silverbeet as well as some magnificent broad beans.
Coriander is growing well and lots of it is for sale with other fresh herbs. Celeriac is also around if you can find it.
Fruits in season include strawberries, mandarins, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apples, pears, rhubarb and passionfruit. Also walnuts and fresh pistachios from Toodyay.
Every Friday morning Maggie zips around the coterie of trusted producers she has built up over the years and collects what has been newly gathered and harvested. She then lays it out ready for opening at 1:00pm.
This, the freshest of the fresh, then stays on sale over the weekend until 4:30pm on Sunday when it is given to the fortunate sheep in the adjoining farm.
Maggie's has been open every single weekend and public holiday since the stall opened in 2008.
As well as the fresh green produce Maggie's stocks a range of locally made honey, home-made jams, relishes, chutneys and olive oils.
Bear Crush Products at Maggie's Place (Photo by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce
Producers such as Bumbak's extensive range preserves, sauces, relishes, dressings and marinades (they specialise in the so-called 'bumburner's chilli', gluten-free and sugar-free products) and Bare Crush.
Bare Crush is a local company that produces, among other things, Mango Chutney and Mango Chilli Sauce, which I have tried and found delicious.
If even that's not enough to tempt you, Maggie's has genuinely free range chicken's eggs as well as duck, quail and the occasional goose egg. And on Sundays Maggie brings in a supply of Bindoon Bakehaus loaves and breads.
Best of all Maggie's has a tasting shed tucked around the back where most of the produce can be test-driven.
So if you want to support local producers, reduce your carbon footprint, do something constructive for the environment as well as enjoy excellent fruit, flowers and vegetables, you can do no better than visit Maggie's Place on Edgecombe Brothers.
I read about Maggie Place and was impressed with the stuff written. Deliberately drove for 50 minutes one-way to check out the place on Friday at 1pm. Sorry to say this - I was very disappointed with what I saw. Very limited quantity for each vege and fruits sold there, as well as limited range of vege/fruit stuff. I left without buying anything.