This morning we leave early for the Farmers Markets in Clevedon, a weekend ritual that revives the soul and inspires meals for the week ahead. We drive for half an hour or so through idyllic farmland, I can’t help but feel anticipation for what this week will have on offer. A large empty woven bag waits to be filled with artisan food and locally grown produce.
There is a faint whiff of fresh herbs as we wander inside, a romantic mingling of herbaceous smells, heavy and fragrant from the past few days of summer rain.
Our first call at the market, before the cheese, coffee and produce is for something comforting to eat. Beside the eftpos stand, there is a stall selling delectable looking Cornish pasties. The decision is tricky. Aged angus beef, potato and swede, or perhaps a meat free option of tasty cheese and onion. I decide to try one with a filling of wild smoked venison sausage, my husband opts for a generously sized rustic sausage roll. Once in possession of the buttery pastry, I devour it straight from the brown paper bag, it’s even more delicious than I imagined.
With a warm, creamy coffee in hand, we set off around the markets. The options are plentiful. With over fifty unique stalls to browse, we are spoilt for choice. Our next purchase is a selection of cheese from Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company. A ball of creamy mozzarella is absolutely necessary, as is a delicate piece of creamy ricotta to later be enjoyed on toast with a little honey. The artisan cheese makers also sell a lovely yoghurt, made with fresh milk from water buffalo which graze freely on lush open pasture in Clevedon.
My eye catches an interesting sign, Running Brook Heritage Seeds. There is an extensive collection of organically grown seeds for heritage vegetables, beans, flowers and herbs. The varieties are as exciting as they are intriguing.
I take a few minutes to tenderly choose selection of unusually shaped tomatoes from Curious Croppers, a local grower who specialises in unique heirloom varieties. I fill a brown bag with hues of cheerful yellow, ruby red and dark indigo. I am little disheartened to see that I have perhaps taken too long, the last of the beautiful looking marble skinned eggplants have been sold to the lady next to me. Not to worry though, as I am suddenly inspired of what to create for dinner this evening.
There’s a stall selling slim bottles of River Estate olive oil, each poured in to little ramekins with ciabatta for dipping. This morning, we choose a vibrant variety called Koroneiki, fresh with floral notes, a slightly grassy flavour and a gentle peppery aftertaste. It will be perfect for drizzling on tonight’s salad.
I glance at the time, two hours seemed to have passed. It has been a beautiful morning, peaceful and perfect. We feel full, not only from the nourishment of delicious food, but from the blissful time spent in the countryside.
As we head towards the entrance, I can’t help but pick up a large glass bottle of Organic Mechanic Kombucha, an effervescent sparkling fermented tea infused with a little ginger. It’s not overly sweet as many varieties of kombucha can be. We take turns sipping it straight from the bottle as we wander to the car.