During 2020, Northside Produce Market celebrates it’s 21st year of trading. We couldn’t have done it without all of the dedicated North Sydney Community Centre staff and volunteers, our wonderful customers and of course all of our fabulous stallholders. Throughout the year we will feature some of the stallholders so that you can discover a little more of their story.
The Owl Farm story began 2 years ago when David Dawes and his partner Sarah established the farm situated 20 minutes east of Braidwood, nestled at the foot of the ancient Budawang Ranges, 40 kms from the coast. With a commitment to sustainable and regenerative farming practices, they have a small herd of cattle and grow seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers using organic and biodynamic inputs and no chemicals. In their first year the couple were thrilled to win a Delicious award for their potatoes. They also offer heirloom pumpkins, radicchio, shallots and mid/late season garlic. Braidwood is an ideal place to grow garlic with frost in winter, hot summers and the ‘Monga Mist’ most afternoons. Sadly now to the story of late 2019 and 2020. ‘We have been in severe drought and have survived 6 weeks of devastating bush fires that threatened our property on three sides. We are much better off than many of our neighbours and friends, who have lost their houses, land and stock. We will come to the markets for as long as we can this year with the best produce we can grow under the circumstances. 10% of our 2020 market sales will be donated to the local Braidwood RFS crews to thank them for their amazing work. We thank Northside Produce Market and it’s customers for the support given and look forward to being back for a chat.’
Gebran Azzi’s family came to Australia as refugees in 1984 when Lebanon was ravaged by a civil war. Despite the difficulties such as not speaking English, Gebran’s farther used his farming knowledge which had been part of their heritage for generations to become one of the first to introduce Lebanese cucumbers to Australia. Wanting their children to have a good education and not sweat for a living, Gebran went onto to become a property valuer but longed for the freedom he felt on the farm. Having retired from farming, his parents still had huge infrastructure on the property, and there was an opportunity to get back into farming. His father suggested they look into growing figs indoors and Figlicious was conceived. Growing figs is one thing, but selling it is another. Unlike many other fruits, figs do not ripen if they are picked prematurely. The best tasting figs are ones picked ripe, but this often means that they are too delicate to place on shelves in shops. ‘Handling needs to remain at a minimum, and so we decided to sell the figs ourselves directly to the public. In 2019 we discovered Northside Produce Market and our figs proved to be a success. I believe this is because having been open for so many years, Northside has an established, community based environment of people who are passionate about quality food.‘