If ever there was an under-the-radar farmer it’s Joe Valente from Mornington Organics, I’ve known Joe for more than 10 years and as I was writing this I realised I didn’t have a single photo of him. I got on-line and after an hour of fruitless Google searching nothing; no webpage, no Facebook, no twitter, not even an article about him in a local paper – nothing. The man’s the antithesis of 21st century look-at-me social marketing (that’s not even Joe’s hand in the picture – imagine something broader, earthier, more farmer-like).
Joe Valente grows broccoli, corn, lettuce and tomatoes on the Peninsula and shares a stand at the Footscray wholesale market with Joe Sgro from Foothill Organics. Two more different men you could not find. While Joe Sgro is the gregarious front man who appears on MasterChef with his stories and his Midnight Pure potatoes, Joe Valente is much more reserved. Joe’s happy to stay in the background, to just come to market, sell his produce and then go back to the farm. I’ve known weeks to pass between Joe’s words and a smile from him is a rare thing.
Anyway, all this leads to the news that Joe Valente’s first cherry tomatoes are ready this week. We’ll have Joe’s tomatoes as well as his broccoli in most of our set boxes and in the Fruit and Veg section,
Last week you might have read about the very-good-for-sharing whole boxes of cherries in the webshop which many of you took advantage of. This week Josh, Fair Food’s produce buyer, is putting up whole trays of peaches and nectarines with the same idea in mind. Stone fruit season is in full swing and nothing says, “Hello Summer,” like a tray of juicy white peaches!