I'm a freelance writer in Brisbane who is passionate about the food and wine scene in the Granite Belt, Queensland. I am writing a book of the people and food of Stanthorpe and plan to launch the publication in 2014.
Published August 14th 2013
Meet the farmers and artisans at Market in the Mountains
Taking in what the stallholders have to offer on a frosty Sunday morning
With a motto 'make it, bake it, sew it or grow it!' Stanthorpe's Market in the Mountains features the produce and products of local farmers and the creative side of local people. Spring means cherry blossoms and the promise of new season vegetables and fruit. In Stanthorpe, in Queensland's Granite Belt, this means a unique offering of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farms ripe up to summer and available at Market in the Mountains. During summer, this market is a must for picking up boxes of stonefruit and ripe tomatoes to turn into your own jams and relishes.
Market in the Mountains also features stallholders who sell olive and lavender products, as well as quilters and knitters, soap makers, leather workers, leadlighting artists, painters and bakers. Three stallholders in particular impressed me, each offering something unique about the Granite Belt region.
Daphne from Granite Belt Highlands Winery asks a young browser her thoughts on cumquat jam
At the Granite Belt Highland Winery stall, Daphne Harrison makes chutneys, pickles and jams, and my favourite: lemon butter. Despite winter frosts, she still had Roma tomatoes in her garden, as well as fresh lemons and cumquats. She had also picked and dried wild fennel seeds from her property. Daphne teams up with her son, Mark a third generation winemaker who runs the Granite Belt Highlands Winery and makes fruit liqueurs and wine from the fruit of his orchard and vineyard. Highly recommended was his aniseed liqueur, made with his own fennel seeds and juniper berries picked on his property.
Bridget Bunchy is a creative initiative of Isabella and Sam Torrisi, who re-purpose linen and vintage fabric to make bags, jewellery and homewares. I was fond of her leather earrings, like gum leaves, and range of cushions made of linen, cotton and once-neglected knitting projects. Isabella is researching the feasibility of growing flax to spin her own linen—a farmer with a creative difference.
A young admirer of Sheryl Wright's felted wool brooches
Stanthorpe is located at an altitude of 1000 metres and attracts farmers who raise alpacas and sheep for specialty fleeces and wool. Sheryl Wright is a local craftsperson who felts local wool for hats, brooches and apparel, which were admired by all ages. She is a co-founder of the inaugural Wearable Art Competition to be held in Ballandean on Saturday 2 November, 2013. Sheryl is very passionate about her craft, and her brooches make excellent gifts. If you work up an appetite between stalls, the Crafters' Cafe will satisfy any coffee, tea or snack cravings you have while you browse, and they serve only homemade goodies.