Organic farmer Glenyce Creighton hates to see food go to waste.
Whatever fresh produce is left on her farmers market stall each week is put to good use – either in family meals, or in the baked goods, jams, chutneys or pickles that she stocks on her market stall.
Excess duck eggs are used in pavlova bases; bananas are added to cakes and rosellas made into jam.
Her waste-free approach to farming stems from a life of semi self-sufficiency on her farm at Myocum, where she and her family have lived for more than 30 years.
“When we started, we planted three trees of this, three of that , of all different varieties,” she said.
“Food all year round was our plan. So when the pecans run out, we’ve got the custard apples and then we’ve got the citrus and so on. There’d always be something.”
As, it turned out, they ended up with a little more than they needed, and that’s how Glenyce ended up at the markets selling the excess.
Her stall is always full of surprises – fruit and vegetables you’d never find at the supermarket, many of which are old, hard-to-find varieties grown from seeds handed down to Glenyce from her father. Older customers are often thrilled to discover a fruit or vegetable they haven’t seen for years, while younger customers are keen to try something new. There’s Glenyce’s kiwano, for example, a spiky cucumber also known as a horned melon; large white skinned cucumbers; chokoes; rough shelled macadamias, or bush nuts; old tomato varieties; and loofahs – a large zucchini shaped fruit that can be eaten fresh in curries and stir-fries, or used as a natural sponge and exfoliator when it’s dried.
Glenyce says the next harvest on the farm will be the custard apples, which are just starting to come into season. She’ll also be picking citrus, leafy greens, collecting her free-range duck eggs, and making her beautiful arrangements from the flowers she grows in her home greenhouse.
As always, she won’t have a lot of anything, but what there will be is diversity.
“Variety, not quantity is my motto,” she said.
• Find Glenyce Creighton at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday.
Some of the unusual, hard-to-find and old varieties of produce Glenyce grows:
• Duck eggs (great for baking)
• Kiwano – a spiky cucumber-like fruit. When eaten green, it’s like a sweet cucumber. As it ripens and yellows, it tastes fruitier and more like a banana
• Loofah – a large zucchini-shaped fruit that can be eaten fresh, or dried to use as exfoliator