Organic producers adapt to the circumstances

Organic producers adapt to the circumstances

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Meg Blake, Bellelen Grampians Organics, is selling vegie boxes from her property at Pomonal after stopping going to Melbourne farmers' markets due to COVID-19.

Meg Blake, Bellelen Grampians Organics, is selling vegie boxes from her property at Pomonal after stopping going to Melbourne farmers' markets due to COVID-19.

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A regional Victorian organic horticulture business has readjusted in the wake of COVID, shifting sales from markets to the farmgate.

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WHEN Meg and Rod Blake, Bellelen Grampians Organics, based at Pomonal in Victoria's Grampians region, made the decision it was no longer possible to attend the Melbourne farmers' markets that made up the majority of their sales, a plan B had to be found.

"We're both in our 70s and we decided it was just too risky with coronavirus, plus we were just getting sick of all the travel getting down and back to the markets every weekend," Ms Blake said.

Instead the pair have focus on farmgate sales and have been pleasantly surprised with how well it is going.

"The farmers' markets were definitely the big source of sales for us but the local interest has really grown over recent years," she said.

The pair now open up on a Tuesday afternoon at their Pomonal property for people to pick up pre-ordered vegie boxes, sold for $50 and featuring whatever is in season in their market garden.

At present kales, other leafy greens and carrots dominate, while in the summer it is time for tomatoes and other warm weather vegetables to shine.

The Blakes also include some less familiar vegetables that seldom grace the supermarket shelves such as tomatillos and Spanish pimientos de Padron, a type of capsicum that is a Spanish tapa classic.

There are occasionally other products, done in conjunction with other local producers such as Blue Wren Bakery, like vegetable pasties, or home-made sauces and

"People really appreciate knowing what they are buying is grown locally and also the chance to try some different things," Ms Blake said.

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