“Most people think the Country Women’s Association is old ladies from the country, making cups of tea and baking scones. And while we do love a cuppa, in fact the CWA has always been about much more,” says Merna Taouk, an active member of the Sydney City CWA and founder of DessertMakers.
“Social events, baking and craft are all important and valid activities for CWA branches and members,” she says. “However, the larger achievements of the CWA are often overlooked.
“I was lucky enough to meet many of the ladies from the CWA through my business. After learning more about what they stand for, and after hours spent comparing our baking stories, I knew I wanted to be one of them.”
In January 2013 Taouk founded the company DessertMakers so she could share the desserts that her friends and family were always asking her for. Her cooking reflects her food philosophy; if you use the best ingredients, you get the best possible taste. Based in a small factory in Sydney, she creates puddings and crumbles that are then sold at weekend markets and food stores across Australia, as well as supplied to Qantas First Class. As a regular stallholder at Eveleigh markets, Taouk was determined to get her Sydney City branch to be part of the weekly event.
The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia with more than 25,000 members in 1500 branches. It was formed in 1922 out of concern for women living on the land, particularly in isolated areas. “We aim to improve conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia,” says Taouk.
The CWA lobbies the government on matters such as agriculture, the environment, education, and transport. Its members also provide educational grants and support a medical research fund and other charities. Membership is open to all women living in NSW and the ACT.
The CWA Sydney City Branch currently has 30-plus members aged mainly between 20 to 65 years old, all working women who want to make a difference and want to give back to those in need.
The CWA will have a stall on June 28 at the Eveleigh Market at Carriageworks, selling homemade jams, chutneys and preserves as well as the Jam Drops Cookbook and other CWA goods.
Eveleigh Farmers' Market
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh