Sunday, July 29, 2012

Veggie Meal Plan and pleading the case for independent grocers.

As part of my efforts to buy local and eventually avoid the big two supermarkets as much as I can, I decided to take a road trip to Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland and see if doing my shopping at their IGA was viable. I do shop at farmer's markets and two local fruit + veg places, but it does require several trips a week and with two babies, that might be a bit ambitious!

I don't know if you know or remember the huge fight Maleny put up when Woolworths bought a block of land in their small, close-knit, co-operative town and started to build a store, but it went on for months and eventually the townspeople lost. It was a classic David + Goliath tale, the eco-friendly, sustainable, fiercely proud community up against the profit-driven faceless corporation, and resentment still burns. People do shop at the Woolworths, but a hell of a lot don't and won't under any circumstances.

To be honest, I really love the little IGA. I worked in Maleny for a year before I had Abby, and loved going in and browsing their incredibly extensive deli section for lunch goodies! The staff were super-friendly, I was always charmed by their wooden floorboards and old-fashioned feel (it's been there since 1905!) and it was always packed with shoppers. Normally that would annoy me, but it's a different kind of shopper, and I was always pleased to see that with a Woolies merely metres down the road, people still supported a local enterprise.

I also found that they do online shopping, AND will deliver to my house even though I'm a 45-minute drive away. Their everyday grocery prices are on a par with the big two (I always just assumed they were more expensive, given the circumstances) and their delivery fee is cheaper than one of the other supermarkets who is a 10-minute drive away. I think I actually just hit supermarket jackpot. Not only that, but a little old man quipped "do they sell babies at the supermarket now?", pointing to Abby as I was taking my trolley to my car, and he was so chuffed that I responded they were on sale so I nearly bought two. There's just something about little country towns, isn't there? Everyone was so damn nice to us.

Oh, and by the way, they don't have a clue who I am and have definitely not paid me to say any of this! I just truly am excited it fits my needs so well.

And as a bonus, as I was driving down the mountain on my way to my beachside home, I spotted this:


I pulled over so quickly I nearly gave myself whiplash. I snapped a couple of shots on my phone, and by the time I was back on the road, the rain had gone. There really is something magical about this place.

Anyway, this week we're eating whatever looked good at the produce section, and whatever I have leftover in the fridge.

Oh! And a mushroom lasagna thanks to these little surprises:


How cool are they?! We grow our veg in mushroom compost, and usually get a little one here and there. But the combination of warm days, cloudy skies and lots of rain lately meant a nice little crop of lovely firm mushrooms. A very nice surprise indeed!

  mushroom lasagna
 sweet potato +black bean enchiladas
 schnitzel + roast veg
 pumpkin soup and homemade bread
 wholemeal penne + roasted tomato and capsicum sauce

 vegan brownies

 apple slice

30 comments:

  1. I love your pics! It didn't occur to me to grow veges in mushy compost, so nicking that idea. I've grown them inside in a dark room, but they attract mice and rats, which sucks. By the looks of it, your way is better and brings more mushies.

    Sounds like you had a fantastic shopping day, gotta love that. You'd like where we're moving. We're  going to move to Batlow, and there's lots of fresh produce we'll be able to buy direct from the orchards: apples, blueberries, eggs, stone fruit, not sure what else yet. Oh, and it has an IGA too! 

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  2. Daniel's dad lives in Maleny - what a beautiful part of the world. And yes, that IGA is a lovely little store. As soon as I walked in there I immediately felt a sense of community; a rare thing these days. The local IGA in Cygnet (tasmania) impressed me too - organic milk in a glass bottle, parmesan from the local cheese maker and 5kg bags of organic flour! x

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  3. Looks like you're onto a winner! We've just recently decided to make a bigger effort to avoid the big two as well. They're inevitably the most convenient but it's not too much trouble for us to visit the alternatives - we're enjoying the fresh produce and deli goods more, and the staff often recognise us too. :-)

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  4. flyingdrunkenmonkeyJuly 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Sounds like you're on to a winner!! We try to avoid the big 2 as well but am finding it a little hard at the moment to find a good alternative for all of the dry goods and toilet paper etc. We have started getting our fruit and veg delivered every Saturday and they are sourced straight from the growers (mostly local). It's really fantastic. Now I just have to find a good seafood supplier because our local one is not very good (although better than the supermarket).

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  5. I did not know that! Incredible. I've recently got my grocery shopping down to a 3-weekly online click and collect shop, buying everything else locally on a needs basis. Feels good!

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  6. sar - AccidentallentilJuly 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    oh to live in a food bowl area! i am getting increasingly frustrated at the big shops.  that IGA sounds lovely. nothing beats that small-town, community-focused, friendly customer service, and i love that the community are supporting them right back.

    and your mushrooms!!! my toddler would go wild, she has just started saying shroo=shroo and packing (and unpacking) the mushroom bag for me at the grocer's and at home. over and over. and over.

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  7. Mushroom lasagna going on the meal plan. Our area here in Sydney has roadside stalls for everything from lemons to honey to poppies. I try and buy as much as I can from them.

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  8.  Thanks Stacey for the trip down memory lane... we lived on the Sunshine Coast for 13 years and one of my favorite things was tripping up to Maleny... I remember that well when Woolies decided to set up there too... the little IGA certainly is charming... loved the comment about the babies being on sale... lol... There definitely is something very magical about it.

    Hugs
    Jenny x

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  9. I'm new'ish to this site. Do you post the recipes for your meal plan or is it purely for inspiration? Love the sound of the enchiladas.

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  10. I watched Landline today and I'm so disgusted with what Coles and Woolworths are doing to our beloved Dairy Industry. I live in a fresh food heaven here with seasonal fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat all grown locally. We have a great farmers market every second Saturday and two IGA's to service our 100,000 odd population. My fear is that all that could be a thing of the past if we don't embrace buy local and buy Australian.

    Recently a friend of mine from London said that she never understood why we harp on about buy local so much until she went back home and realised there were little to no independant grocer's, boutiques and service stations. Long ago they had been taken over by the big corporations. Let's not let this happen to our great country.

    Well done for highlighting this very important topic :-)

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  11. Well I've never grown mushrooms, and it appears to be a complete fluke that these ones popped up! The veggies grown in the compost are pretty awesome though. And we get lots of worms and witchetty grubs and good stuff so you know it's thriving! Damn what I wouldn't give for a couple of orchards nearby xx

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  12. How awesome is the milk in the glass bottle! I get that from my natural food store nearby. But you can't go past that sweet little Maleny IGA.

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  13. I think it's just shoved in our faces so much that it takes us a second to realise we don't have to shop there! Lots of us are so fortunate to have alternatives. I hope what Coles + Woolies are doing with the milk situation, and the backlash from farmers will help drive others to alternatives too :)

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  14. Isn't it amazing what you find when you start looking elsewhere? I'm so pleased that the IGA will work for our dry goods needs too. That is often the hardest thing for most people xx

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  15. three-weekly! Now that is awesome!

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  16. Aw that is the cutest! I love when they get excited about food. We've got "ah-puhl? ah-puhl?" all the time here and it kills me!

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  17. I love roadside stalls! That was half the reason for my drive, to see what produce I could pick up on the way. Lucky it's all one road too :)

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  18. yes I love that drive between Maleny and Montville and Mapleton... so peaceful. The hills and the sunshine and the cows - you really feel like you're in a different world and it's half an hour from the coast!

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  19. Howdy and welcome! Normally I'm always trying new things, so don't have a recipe for them yet, but they will be up in the weeks following the plan. If there is a recipe online or on my blog, I'll usually link to it! The enchiladas are going to be awesome, so keep your eyes peeled :)

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  20. I love our local shops! For 3 years I didn't step foot into either of the big two, but when I had a baby the convenience of online won out. I am so keen to get back to local, but your right it is a mission to trek to the IGA, fruit and veg, local fish shop and local butcher with a baby! It's so worth it though, and at least you know where your food comes from!

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  21. Oh wouldn't that be terrible? I love the variety. I love going to a different market every week and seeing what they have. I think its extremely sad what the supermarkets are doing, but I bet it drives a lot of us back to independent sellers :)

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  22. Yes! It is a mission. I think I'm going to find it rather difficult if I tried to do it by myself with two babies. Luckily my husband is pretty handy in these situations! And I'm SO excited that the IGA delivers!

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  23.  Ok, you've sold me, I'm doing it:)

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  24. I love independent grocers too! I always spend heaps more there because I love their selections. How awesome that yours will deliver. That will rock your world when you have two babies at home!!!!xoxoxo 

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  25. I have to say I am jealous of your IGA. There is a good IGA about 20 mins drive from us, but the ones closer are overpriced and lacking in variety, probably because it's so hard to compete with the Big 2. I would love to just shop at Health Food Shops but the budget is already waaay stretched. I sadly revert to the Big 2 and feel horribly bad about it, but try to buy other brands (not theirs) wherever possible. I loathe their brands and how they drive out smaller (especially organic) brands.

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  26. I love Maleny. We're thinking day trip there for our anniversary this weekend. Had hoped to stay over but can't justify a two night minimum that close to home. I wonder if they would deliver to me.... Hmmm. 

    And the mushrooms, holy heck, that's a serious haul! Well done weather and compost and Team Veggie Mama. 

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  27. WOOOOOOOT! You won't regret it. Promise.

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  28. I almost thought it wasn't possible... I'm probably going to kiss the delivery guy.

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  29. I do feel sorry for most IGAs because they are awfully overpriced with inferior quality. There is one within walking distance of my house, but I couldn't do my whole shop there. I wouldn't feel too bad dude, we do what we have to and we do better when we can xx

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  30. bahaha I could totally justify that! Especially at Spicers Clovelly or somewhere truly awesome. There is a treehouse place I stayed at once which was well worth it, and Taman Sari, although quite pricey was phenomenal. You honestly feel like a world away.

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