Feeding demand for organic produce
Words and images by Louise NorthAlittle over two years ago, former scientist Victoria Carey opened a cafe that put something entirely new into the mouths of Warrnambool cafe-goers.
Day Kitty’s menu was based almost entirely on using organic produce (see our earlier story here) – from coffee, to icecream to nuts and pulses and everything in between.
Today, Victoria has taken that concept full circle by not only using organic food in the Day Kitty kitchen, in Kepler St, but actually selling fresh organic produce direct to the customer.
And again, this is a new thing for Warrnambool.
In the past, some organic produce has been sold by a couple of local outlets, but not the range found in Day Kitty.
When Bluestone visited, a fresh load of seasonal vegetables and fruit had just been delivered to the door from the Melbourne market.Walking into the café is certainly a heady olfactory experience with the mix of herbal teas and fresh spring onions, apples and lemons all vying for attention.
The fresh produce is delivered three times a week and the product range includes local organic butter and cheeses, dips, tofu, tempeh, tea, spices, oil, pulses, wholegrains, seeds, popcorn and even organic eggs from Camperdown producer Bushdrift Organic Farm, and recycled loo paper from the perfectly titled, Who Gives a Crap.
“Customers were asking to buy organic produce and I’d always wanted to diversity the café,” Victoria said, so she took the leap and even built the timber stands herself.
“The people that come into the café are customers who ask the questions about where their food is coming from.”The growing demand for green food has been spurred on by recent food scares where frozen berries and later leafy greens were found to be contaminated.
And as the slightly higher cost is usually the first thing that deters people from organic food, the fact is that buying in-season organic produce doesn’t cost much more than buying out-of-season fruit and vegetables from the large supermarket chains.
The added cost for organic is because of the cost of certification for producers ($20,000) and the seven years it takes to ensure that the soil is free from previous contaminants. Even the water used must be free of fluoride.
Victoria’s interest in organic food began early, when she dug her own vegie patch as a kid.
“My grandparents (who lived in Yambuk) grew everything they ate and I enjoyed my gardening and loved the taste of home-grown food, but you always ended up with a glut of one type of fruit or vegetable,” she laughs.
Now, Victoria has no time to grow her own, and I’m guessing there are a few of us around like that, but she has a great variety of organic food to choose from now!
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