So, what if you can’t grow all the food you want to eat, but you want good local produce. I am not going to pretend it is readily available all over Darwin and surrounds, but here are some good places to start-
Rapid Creek Markets is on Sunday morning, and is as near to a farmer’s market as we are going to get at the moment. Busy and sweaty, diverse with people and produce. Much of the produce is grown in small farms in Humpty Doo, Acacia, Howard Springs and surrounds. Often there is a mix and out of season, or never growable veg are available too. Have a chat to the stall holders, they are pretty honest about what is local/ spray free or not. You’ll soon get to know what is able to be grown and what you would never transport in anyway (Kang Kong from long- I don’t think so!) You’ll get to know who is a grower, who is a middleman and so on. Rum Jungle Organics have a stall too. Some local sellers also sell at Nightcliff market on Saturdays.
Greenies Real Food is also in Rapid Creek and whenever possible tries to stock local organic and spray free produce, including limes from Greenie’s orchard in Howard Springs, eggplants, cucumbers passionfruit, lemons, pawpaw and bananas. Tomatoes, salad mix and other delights join the list in the dry season. They may even take your back yard produce if it is organically grown!
Beatrice Buffalo is our only dairy source this far up in the top end. Amazing cheese, available at Nightcliff supermarket, Parap fine foods and Greenies. Mozzarellas, beer cheese, halloumi and yoghurt- wow it is amazing. Sometimes the buffalo are resting and it is not available (sad for us, good for them!)
Parap market (Saturday) and Nightcliff market (Sunday) also sells local produce, mixed with non local produce and Coolalinga markets has a local produce market and stalls pop up on roads sides when watermelons or mangoes or something big is in season.
Nightcliff independent supermarket tries to sell local when possible too and also try Fresh Local Produce on Bagot Rd.
Aweganic gardens is a suburban market garden grown by Dan Sheridan, he opens his gates on Wednesdays during the dry season for you to pick your own salad mix including mizuna (red, purple and green) lollo rosso lettuce, cos lettuce, darwin lettuce, baby kale (3 varieties) amaranth, baby sweet potato leaves, kang kong, baby radish leaves, ruby chard, baby pak choi, tatsoi, rocket, cosmos petals, marigold petals, zinnia petals…He also sells this to Greenies Real food
Crazy Acres sells some locally made icecream- with local fruit at least.
Several nurseries around Darwin sell productive plant and fruit trees, some are grown on site but many are brought in from down South. Try and buy plants grown in the Darwin region as they are climate tolerant, the best plants are grown from Darwin seeds, so saving your own seeds and starting a seed saving network is a great idea.
There is no Territory based seed company, the best places to get organic, non GM, non hybrid, traditional old varieties of productive plants are Edenseeds (based in back of Gold Coast, South Queensland) and Greenharvest (based in Sunshine Coast, Queensland). Greenharvest have a special Tropics variety especially grown for tropical places and both companies mark their seed sources. Edenseeds are sold through the Fairtrade stall at Rapid Creek Markets on Sundays and possibly in some nuseries. Remember that our climate is quite unique to even those climates marked as ‘Hot’ on Seed Packs, particularly the other generic varieties bought in nurseries- look at the harvest planner for better info. You can find an Select Organic Range sold in some nurseries too.
The Plantsmith (08 8983 2001) is run by Simon Smith in Giraween and in my opinion has the best community and Environmental ethics of any productive plant nursery as yet. He supplies the plants (in his marked posts) to Bunnings and Home Hardware and only really does wholesale, but his plants are raised in Darwin and he is a great supporter of Community Gardens and events and running his nursery with environmental ethics. As yet no community gardens/ botanical gardens officially sell plants on a constant basis.
Tropiculture is in Bees Creek and run by the very knowledgeable Chris Nathaniel. The nuresry is open Saturday 8-12 and sells a huge list of fruit trees grown on site.
The Mulchpit is at the Uniting Church in NIghtcliff, which hosts Frillies cafe every Saturday. Here there is a produce swap table- you can alos buy a few things and visit the op shop and garden at the same time!
OTHER GARDEN STUFF
Shukers Farm in DArwin River (08 8988 6266) supplies mulching hay for $5 a bale and will deliver it to you for free if your order more than 25- so you you could get together with neighbours and collectively get some!
Manure Mulch is available in many grades from rough mulch to ‘Veggie mix’ from Shoal Bay Dump (0417822103). This is made from recycled garden waste and local manure, it is treated so it won’t contain seeds- but you never know, I have never had an issue. Lesley is the amazing leader behind this mulch and compost making operation. Take your ute (around $25 a scoop- depending on grade) or get a ‘shit load’ delivered in a massive truck- ring them for details.
If you know of any good local suppliers, please write in so we can add to the list!
Check out your community gardens to learn how to grow your own and meet with other local gardeners to swap produce/ seeds/ cuttings (see “Grow do it” tab)