Some people fall into their vocation others just can’t help themselves. Emily Connors is of “the can’t help herself” variety. Emily, that’s her harvesting rapa with CERES farmer Vince, says she’s been playing at being a farmer her whole life and it’s about all she’s ever wanted to do. Like so many farmers Emily’s journey started as a kid hanging around in a garden with a special grown-up. In Emily’s case it was in the veggie patch with her great-aunt Anna on the family’s Inverell sheep and wheat farm. In her kid’s Blundstones she pretended she was a farmer. Pretending turned into wwoofing on other people’s places, then some time in Italy gardening and baking before finding herself in Victoria harvesting apples and stone fruit at the Alexandra family’s Hazeldean Forest Farm.After finishing the fruit season Emily was snapped up by CERES Organic Market to sell fruit and veg (you can say hi to her Sunday-Wednesdays). And then finally a couple of months ago Emily jumped at the chance to stand in at Joe’s Market Garden when farmer Vince took a trip to visit family in Italy.
When Vince returned from his trip he came down to the garden one morning ready to harvest a load of silverbeet only to find Emily packing it all up ready to go to CERES Market. She had been picking by the light of her head-torch since well before sunrise so she could have it fresh for her customers. The combination seems to have clicked and Emily and Vince have now decided to start farming together.
Over the next few weeks look out in our boxes for some of Vince and Emily’s Italian heirloom vegetables – they’re harvesting endive, green raddichio and bunches of rapa (or mustard greens). The strong bitter flavours of these beloved winter staples go well with other robust ingredients and dressings. The endive and radicchio make punchy winter salads, while you can use the rapa just like kale or silverbeet.