Holidays are on the horizon. As is a long, delicious string of days dominated by good food and good company. Eating local and sourcing direct from the farmgate has never been easier with so many growers and purveyors offering home delivery and click-and-collect. This festive season, in partnership with Click for Vic - an initiative that encourages people to support Victorian businesses - we’re supporting local farmers, producers and makers, both in Melbourne and the surrounding regions, when assembling our Christmas-lunch shopping list.
Meat and seafood
Walking into ethical Fitzroy-based meat merchant Meatsmith feels more akin to a luxury retail boutique than a food producer. Selling sustainably farmed heritage meats all year round, it’s taken things up a notch for Christmas, including offering delivery Victoria wide. Rare-breed hams come from Katy Brown's Glen Eyrie farm. These are brined for 48 hours, then smoked over German beechwood. There’s an option for a chef-applied brown sugar and tawny port glazing. Whole free-range chickens come from the renowned Milking Yard Farm in Trentham, while whole rare-breed turkeys are from Deutscher's Farm near Horsham.
On the seafood front, opt for sustainable choices such as local Portarlington mussels, wild-caught Queensland tropical rock lobster and Coffin Bay oysters. King George whiting, Spanish mackerel or yellowfin bream are each ocean-positive choices for fish. Queen Victoria Market also has you covered for all of these online, with delivery and click-and-collect available.
Fruit and veg
Let the farm come to you. Grampians Produce Co is based in Ararat, a little more than two hours north-west of Melbourne. It’s aggregating fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, salad greens and herbs from local growers in regional Victoria – and importantly, delivering state-wide. This civic food network has an online shop as part of the Victorian Country Market, where you’ll find options for a veggie box, fruit box and mixed box, plus fresh spaghetti, fettuccini and lasagne sheets that are handmade in the Grampians. At this time of year, you can anticipate beans, artichokes, zucchinis, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin, and leafy greens and herbs such as lettuce, endive, kale, spinach, parsley and basil.
It’s hard to go past the simplicity and perfection of a loaf of sourdough, particularly the kind made by Tim Beylie and Brice Antier over at Bread Club. One might say the pair has successfully brought the French daily enjoyment of croissants and baguettes to North Melbourne. The mint-hued bakery deals in white, seed, spelt and rye sourdoughs, along with pointy-tipped baguettes.
The lads are turning out house-made panettone and mince pies especially for the season, and you can never go wrong with a fougasse – the focaccia of Provence. Make sure to arrive early to pick up your produce fresh.
You’ll certainly need a good butter to slather on your bread and Gippsland Jersey always delivers. Farmers Steve Ronalds and Sallie Jones are passionate about delicious high quality dairy and about changing the status quo when it comes to a fair price for farmers. They milk Jersey cows and transform the result into cultured sour cream and buttermilk. Perhaps over order on the half-kilo blocks of salted cultured butter (it’ll be popular). You might also fancy some Jersey pouring cream to drizzle over your Christmas pud.
Pud For All Seasons is by Karen Kelly, who has been making traditional and contemporary iterations of puddings in Castlemaine for almost 20 years. The original plum pudding is based on her grandmother’s recipe and is dense with raisins, sultanas, currants, apples, oranges, sherry and brandy. The puddings are made with local free-range eggs and Australian dried fruits where possible. Apples and oranges come directly from the grower and the bread is from a local baker. There’s a date and butterscotch and a double choc orange iteration, plus a vegan pud that’s gluten-, dairy-, egg-, yeast- and nut-free.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Victoria. Support Victorian producers by buying online through Click for Vic and hitting the road to visit in person.