Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market (CAKE) and Humble Pie Company

While staying in Main Arm, we were able to make two visits to the Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market, which is held every Friday morning at the showgrounds, just out from the town centre. The first time, we were even able to get into the spirit of the town and hitchhike down from Upper Main Arm as our van got bogged in. Seriously, everyone hitches around there – at one point we had a full house in our van, with a fellow helpx-er in the front, a dude we picked up down the road, then a couple we picked up further down with their dog.

I love farmers’ markets, and try to visit as many as I can as we travel around as I think they are a fantastic way to source a range of local, sustainable (and mostly organic) produce in one place, while supporting local farmers and communities. In the wake of a lot of issues regarding questionable growing/farming practices, it becomes important to consider where your food is sourced from and the practices used to produce it, and then determine where you are willing to put your dollar. I am very keen on the idea of cultivating your own veggie gardens and working towards a level of self-sufficiency, however this is not always possible – unfortunately there is little to no garden space in a travelling van! Anyway, I digress…the Mullum Farmers’ Market is a beautiful event – it has a very warm vibe, with live music throughout the morning and plenty of talented kids busking on each stretch. Not to mention some amazing stalls, from your standard veggie stall, to smoothies, to fermented produce, to sushi to raw food. The aromas as you wander about are incredible!

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Our host had recommended Raw Ecstacy, a small business from the Byron area that sells a variety of raw food dishes, including cakes, pizza, quiche, cheese and crackers, all at quite a reasonable price. She specifically mentioned the chocolate beetroot cake, so I was stoked to find it there on our first visit. I’m forever seeking new ways to introduce beetroot to my diet, as I simply DO NOT LIKE eating it – raw, roasted, pickled, in sandwiches, etc.

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Now I can certainly add cake to the list of acceptables. Billy and I had already begun munching this before I thought to take a pic, so here is the rest of the cake, in all its glory. What was truly amazing about this cake was the texture – I’m used to the dense richness of raw desserts, but somehow (with the addition of plenty of shredded coconut) this cake seemed almost fluffy! It definitely had an unexpected lightness to it. Combined with the fudgy icing, it was truly delicious!

Next visit to the market started with a visit to the juice and smoothie stall, where I had to try one of their black sapote banana smoothie, which was amazing. I’d never had a black sapote before, only heard rumours of this magical ‘chocolate pudding fruit’ but finally I was  able to taste it. It really is quit unbelievable! I look forward to more of these treats as we head further north. Next stop, back to Raw Ecstacy to check out their lemon coconut cake.

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As you can tell, this cake took a more dense form than the last, but was yummy and zesty nonetheless. I can’t fault it, but the beetroot was definitely my fave (what?! Beetroot? Favourite?! I know….)

While I’m here, I just wanted to quickly mention a pie shop called Humble Pie that our hosts took us to in Billinudgel, which was about a 20 minute drive north east of Upper Main Arm. This place was great, with a range of about six different vegan pies, including a few mock meat ones, with the rest being tofu/lentil/veggie based. Not to mention all of their pies are made with wholemeal pastry. Billy and I got the mock steak and pepper and mock thai chicken curry, both of which were awesome – we were starving so we woofed them down. We visited again when we were in the area and went for the classic curried lentil.

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This was crazy! The gravy they’d made was so rich and delicious, no wonder this is the most popular veg pie on the menu. Definitely worth checking out if you’re ever up this way.

Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market
Mullum Showgrounds, Main Arm rd
(Between Chinbible st and Coral ave)
Every Friday, 7- 11am

Humble Pie Company
1 Mogo Place Billinudgel
Open daily 8am – 5.30pm

Helpx-ing in Main Arm

Last time I was posting, we had just travelled up the coast to Ballina with no immediate plans. We spent a day in Byron Bay doing the old job ring around (avocados and macadamias in this area) but to no avail. We decided to camp out two nights at the Alstonville showgrounds (about 15 mins inland from Ballina) for showers and power (and only $10/night!). Alstonville was a lovely little town, and here’s a fun fact for you – it is the home of the Tibouchina Alstonville, a plant which has vibrant purple flowers around Autumn time. A guy who lived there developed the plant, and we were lucky enough to be there at the right time to see them in action.

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So while we were there, we decided to try the Helpx route while we continued on our search for paid work. We picked a host we liked the sound of, got in touch, and next thing we knew, we were on our way out to Upper Main Arm, about 15 minutes out of Mullumbimby. The Main Arm/Mullum area really is beautiful, and the minute we got there we were struck by the strong sense of community that is present there. Nowhere else in Australia (so far!) have we experienced something quite like it.
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Our hosts were a lovely couple who had a gorgeous property on which they had organic gardens, a little sub-tropical orchard, about 27 ducks and a handful of chooks (with names like Elton, Rob Zombie, Venus & Serena and Barry (White)) as well as two dogs, Possum and Peanut.

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The property is surrounded by bush and backed onto a creek that winds its way about the area. Oh and I almost forgot, over the neighbouring fence lived the most awesome bunch of cows, including (a super pregnant) Moonshine, her son Midnight, Little Brown Bull, Paddy and Madonna (also pregnant). Here is Little Brown Bull, Midnight and Moonshine.

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We really took to feeding the cows over the fence or in the paddock. Moonshine and Midnight were always the first to come running.

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While we were there, Madonna gave birth to a beautiful little calf with a heart shaped patch on his head, that we named Inca. Not long after we left, Moonshine had a little girl too….awwww. I can’t wait to see a photo. Baby cows are just so sweet with their long eyelashes and knobbly legs and the way they bound around.

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While we were there, we spent our days in the garden waging war on tradescantia (a creeping weed trying to take over the garden), mulching, transforming a circle garden and collecting stones from the creek to create garden edges (or barriers to prevent pineapples being squashed by duck bottoms). The beautiful circle garden we helped build/transform…

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Our hosts took us along to various outings – belly dancing lessons, winter solstice parties, social dinners at the local community hall, to the beach, yowie hunting in the bush and on missions to get delicious vegan pies. We met lots of lovely people, and our hosts were just the most awesome, lovely, funny, warm, generous people who really made us feel welcome and almost like part of the family! They cooked amazing vegan food too! I think they also taught us a lot and even inspired us to become more active in our communities. We had originally planned to stay one week, but ended up staying three, and then travelling with one of them to the gas fields in Queensland (more on that later). We already miss them!

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But our travels must continue! I’ve got some more catch up posts to come that I can hopefully get to this week, so stay tuned…

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