Dave is farmer based in country Victoria who grows beautiful organic vegetables. His father was one of the first farmers in Victoria to gain organic certification in 1982, which at that time was quite a process, so the family expertise in organic veggie farming is sound – and it certainly shows, Spring Creek Organic veggies are extreeeeemely popular.
If you’ve tried Spring Creek Organic veggies I’m sure you would agree that they taste absolutely amazing. Many do feel that organic growing methods play a big role in particularly good flavour creation, and in the case of Spring Creek Organics I do believe that this is the case. But I also believe that the family passion and dedication to the farm plays a big part too.
To learn a little more I chatted with Dave one Sunday, and while I already appreciated his produce my appreciation grew even more – There’s so much work involved in managing a farm while also selling produce, and bringing up 3 kids. Dave and his wife Lisa are an incredible team.
So here’s what Dave had to say about organic vegetable farming, why he loves his work and his favourite ways to eat their veggies.
Lara: All your vegetables are organic, what exactly does this mean?
Dave: It means that everything we grow is grown naturally, and in ways that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. We only use natural fertilizers, and we don’t use any pesticides or herbicides. The processes we use help to continually improve the soil” .. “I’m still learning to this day. I’ve been learning new processes, for example, after harvest we now have a heard of cows that we let in to eat up all the residues and weeds” .. “the cows are fertilizing and improving the soil, so we’re getting less weeds and the ground is getting better”
Lara: “The cows must love that, a win-win hey..”
Dave: “Yes they do, they have a ball”
Lara: “And, apart from the cows do you have other nifty ways to manage weeds?”
Dave: “Yes, so we have a few processes. Firstly we have a weed burner, sort of like a gas bottle with a burner, which knocks the little weeds off, because they only grow on the first 5mm of the soil. Then we also have a farming mechanical weeder, and then whatever’s left we have to do by hand”
Lara: “Weeding by hand must be a lot of work, do you have helpers?”
Dave: “Yes I’ve got 3 full time workers and there’s about 3 casuals”
Lara: “Ok, and Lisa your wife, I know she helps too..”
David: “Yes she does.. she sells produce at farmers markets, does bookwork, she packs vegetables.. I give her a hand with packing but generally I’m out there on the farm organizing things..”
Lara: “Amazing.. and you also have 3 children?..”
David: “Yeah, Amber is 13, Gus is going on 12 and Charlie is going on 10. They help at markets, and serve customers. They have school during the week and on the weekend they help with farmers markets..”
I remember first meeting Charlie at a farmers’ market when he was 5 and his knowledge of vegetables was amazing, of course. But still, it was a joy for me to see and hear. The other memory I have is that the kids played and had a lot of fun – The nice thing about farmers’ markets is that they provide a very social environment and there’s often room to play for all kids.
Lara: “It shows that you’re very passionate about what you do. What do you love the most about what you do?”
David: “Ah look I love doing the farmers markets. It’s nice getting feedback from the customers, which is usually – Thank you, Thank you for coming, This is great produce – and that really keeps me going”
Lara: “Your produce is amazing, and I bet you agree (Dave smiles). Do you and your family eat lots everyday?”
David: “Yes, each weekend we stock up on things from the farmers’ market like some nice meat and eggs, and we always have our own veggies with meals”
Lara: “And if you had to pick, what would be your favourite vegetable that’s in season right now?”
Dave umms and ahhhs as clearly he can’t decide; they’re all so good.
David: “Well hmm, the leeks or carrots are really good”
Lara: “They ARE really good, your carrots are incredible. Do you eat a lot of veggies raw?
David: “Oh yeah, when we’re packing up there are always broken carrots for eating”
Lara: “And how do you cook your veggies? Any tips?”
David: “Generally we steam a lot of veggies as they’re beautiful steamed. When we have a roast we have roast pumpkin and potatoes but other veggies are beautiful steamed. Lisa cooks beautiful meals.”
Her meals sounded beautiful and wholesome, and with veggies like these everyday.. how wonderful.
Dave said he suggests steaming his carrots and broccoli, they’re beautiful on their own. But with salt and pepper and a little olive oil or butter you also can’t go wrong. Adding veggies like these to any meal adds incredible flavour not to mention a concentrated source of vitamins. Fresh, seasonal, locally grown and organic vegetables like these are incredibly nutritious, and they just taste so good! They also make you feel really good.
And boy have you ever tried roasted or mashed organic potatoes?? SO creamy and the flavour is just heaven. Dave has an array of potatoes, and when you visit him he can tell you about the best ways to cook each variety.
When I asked Dave whether he has a favourite dish or recipe he said.. “Ohhh yes, I do a mean lemon chicken, served with our veggies”..
(Yum!) This is a family favourite, which I might be able to share one day soon, after I’ve had a chance to chat with Dave again. But for now, because the carrots are available and so good I’ve been playing with carrot salad recipes. Dave’s carrots are good raw, but they’re also beautiful cooked – whether roasted, steamed or stir-fried the flavour is beautiful. Since talking with Dave I’ve tried steaming them, and made this simple carrot salad this week (see below). It’s warm yet fresh, and works beautifully as a side to meat or fish. We had this recently with some bbq meat, crusty bread and a fresh green salad. It can also be made into a heartier salad. I tried mixing leftovers with leafy greens and boiled eggs – for lunch with bread this was delicious.
When it comes to eating, cooking and enjoying Spring Creek Organic vegetables they are beautiful any way really. If you live in Melbourne and haven’t yet tried them I highly recommend you do.
To find out where you can find Spring Creek Organics each and every week – click here.
Also, check out the Spring Creek Organics Facebook page for weekly market updates, plus delicious organic veggie tips and interesting things.
Also, they have a Farm Gate Shop. So you can visit their farm and buy a bunch of freshly harvested veggies (how cool!). Here is a map of where they are:
And here is one nice way to eat carrots..
Warm carrot salad
For the salad:
A bunch of carrots
A good handful of walnuts
A few sprigs of parsley
A few sprigs of oregano (you could use mint instead, or just parsley)
2-3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
For the Dressing:
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. tahini
A dash of maple syrup or honey (~1/2 – 1 tspn.)
2- 3Tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius, place walnuts and seeds on some baking paper, on a baking tray. Roast until just golden, then remove from oven and set aside.
2. Wash and slice carrots however you like. Peel if you like, but you don’t have. I did peel my carrots just as an experiment, to see what would happen to all the colours (The result was multicoloured carrot pieces – very cool. When peeled the lighter coloured carrots take up the purple colour very easily).
3. Steam the carrots, and meanwhile chop herbs and make the dressing. To make the dressing: In a medium sized bowl mix the lemon juice, tahini and maple syrup/honey together well with a fork, then add olive oil and continue mixing. Season and taste – you may like a little more oil, depending on your taste buds.
4. Add carrots, herbs, walnuts and seeds to the bowl and toss until all mixed through. Try a carrot piece, and season salad if you feel it needs it.
– You could add any veggies to this dish too, such as steamed broccolli and asparagus. You could also toss through leafy greens, boiled egg, and/or a grain such as cooked quinoa. Quinoa would make it a hearty and nourishing salad.
– Roasted almonds or pistachios would also be beautiful tossed through too. Also, you don’t have to roast nuts, roasting them just enhances their flavour.