Rob Cullinan and Duska Jefed are the couple behind Spice Palace. They lovingly make dips, tapenade, dukkah, harissa, chilli pasta, pesto, salsa and baklava from the small commercial kitchen at the back of their house in The Pocket. 

All of their products are gluten and dairy free, vegan and organic. They don’t cut corners, they squeeze the lemon juice and crush the garlic themselves onsite and use only extra virgin olive oil. Their dips are prepared fresh every week with no preservatives, additives or citric acid and this ensures customers have an incredibly fresh, high quality and healthy product to take home. 

Beginning in 2009, Rob and Duska were one of the founding stallholders at Mullumbimby Farmers Markets. ‘When the markets first started the key ethos for value-added stalls was to source as much of our raw ingredients from local farmers, to support them, and to cut down on food miles and transport costs by receiving the produce at the markets.’ 

They continue to source most of their produce from other stallholders and the rest they grow themselves, making use of the excellent compost supplied by their chickens and the fruit pulp leftover from Smoothie Operator, from New Brighton Farmers Markets. 

Growing their own ingredients, or sourcing from other producers means what’s on offer is truly seasonal. ‘Regular customers know that at the end of winter the coriander pesto will be about to finish so they will stock up before we bring back the basil pesto in summer’. While their offering does follow a seasonal pattern, they also introduce new lines based on what produce has had a great crop during a season. 

Rob acknowledges it has been an interesting two years: ‘with COVID-19, we saw customers that could only come out once a week to get their food, when you are one of their only points of contact, that was a real privilege’.

‘It’s also been great to see lots of new faces, with more people appreciating the importance of food security and supporting our local farmers. It’s also been challenging seeing the conflict in the divided community. I hope our markets will serve as a positive point of focus to bring the community back together again.’