GIVEAWAY - Real Food Christmas Guide

By Kate Walsh

Photo: Luisa Brimble

This by no means an exhaustive list but a good start to get you thinking! We'd love to hear how you are going to have a Real Food Christmas this year. Leave a comment to go in the running to win a hamper worth $50 full of locally produced honey from Urban Bee Hive, a jam from Hands Lane and tea from Perfect South.
p.s Apologies in advance for this being Sydney-centric. Tell us about where you live as well and we'll add it.

Rethink your ham
Did you know that more than 70% of Australia’s processed pork products (ham, bacon and smallgoods) have been produced using imported pork? (1) The issue with imports is that we don’t know how these animals were raised. And unfortunately, buying Australian doesn't solve the issue as still we have a lot of issues with pork being produced on factory farms.

The Solution
1. Buy your meat from people that you trust. Get to know your local butcher and ask questions like: Which farm does it come from? What breed is it? How was it raised? If they don’t know, don’t buy it.
2. Think about reducing the amount of meat on your table and choose more vegetables and salads.

Our favourite suppliers
1. Feather and Bone - in our opinion these guys stock the most trustworthy sustainably raised meat sourced from farms around the state. Available in Sydney and online. 
2. The Veggie Trail - Farm direct meat ordered online
3. Get to know your local butcher and ask lots of questions

Don’t get the raw prawn
Seafood is a classic Christmas Day favourite as the foot traffic to the Sydney Fish Markets will attest. But our seafood industry is in a pit of a pickle with overfishing not just in Australia but internationally. 72% of all seafood that Aussie tuck into is imported so we just can’t know if it is fished sustainably (2).

The Solutions
1. Buy locally sourced seafood - ask you fishmonger where it is from Switch your fish to one that is lower down the food chain like whiting and sardines.
2. Educate yourself. Check out the Sustainable Table Guide to Seafood or get cosy with the Sustainable Seafood site - both of which will give you the low down. 

Our Favourites
1.Joto Fish - one of Sydney’s few sustainable seafood suppliers has a great online offering this Christmas and has a Saturday market that is open to the public. They are also open on Christmas Eve.
2. Get to know your local fish shop and ask lots of questions. They don’t mind!

Do you know the story behind your booze? 
Did you know that Woolworths (who own Woolworths Liquor, Cellarmasters, Langtons, Dan Murphy’s and BWS) and Wesfarmers/Coles (who own Liqourland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice Liquor) combined control 58% of the Australian liquor market meaning it is getting tougher and tougher for the little guys to make a buck. (3)

and...

The Fosters Group owns nearly half the beer brands that we love. Jeeez! e.g. Fat Yak, Matilda Bay, Resches, Melbourne Bitter (but who would drink that anyway), Crown Larger and more.(4)

The Solutions 
1. This Christmas why buy your booze from your local independent grog shop and support a small business. They’ll be able to help you choose amazing wines and beers that are locally made at a good price.
2. How about drinking craft beer this Christmas instead of an import or one from a major brand? We reckon it tastes better!
3. Drink Australian wine this Christmas! Focus on smaller independent Australian wineries that make sustainably grown and produced wine. You want handpicked and handmade. Your local wine shop can help. 

What we'll be drinking this Christmas
(There are sooo many to choose from. Check who is brewing in your local area). 

1. Young Henry’s - head to their Newtown Brewery and pick up a few growlers for the table.
2. Willie Smith’s Organic Cider - made from one of the largest and oldest apple farms in the Southern Hemisphere! You can pick some up at our Christmas Market on the 18th Dec at the Hyde Park Barracks.
3. Wine - we love naturally made wines like Shobbrook Wines and Juama. They are SA based and really delicious.

Where does your grocery money go? Mostly not to the farmer.
Coles and Woolworths account for 80% of supermarket sales. Yes 80%. And 50% of the fruit and vegetable retail sales. (5) And when we think about it from the farmer’s point of view it gets worse. For every dollar we spend on food, only about 16 cents goes to the farmer. (6) More and more people are heading out to farmers markets each weekend to support local growers and make sure more money stays in the hands of the people who grow and make our food. It is also the best way to make sure your food is grown sustainably and locally because you can ask! Famers Markets are heading towards 10% of the fruit and vegetable market. Let’s make it more!!

The Solutions
1. Try buying as much of your Christmas grocery list at your local farmers market or independent fruit and vege shop.
2. Buy in season produce that is locally grown and sustainably farmed.
3. Or look to great online providers that will deliver you a box each week of farmer direct fruit and veges. They are great because we all know it is hard to get to the farmers market each weekend.

Our Favourites
1. Any farmers market is a step in the right direction. You can find a good list here.
2. Food Connect are amazing! You can either pick up or they can deliver a box of farmer direct produce each week. A great company that started in Brisbane and is now in Sydney.
3. Head to your local food co-op where you’ll find organic produce and groceries. Many now also don’t require that you do volunteer time to be able to shop there making it easier to get involved. And of course, support your local organic health food stores.

Presents galore!
We spend a stupid amount of money at Christmas - upwards of $30 billion dollars. (7) Imagine if that was plowed into small business and how much stronger the economy would be.

The Solutions
1. This year commit to buying all your presents from local businesses or from online hubs like Etsy. 
2. Why not make your presents. Books such as ‘Like Grandma Used to Make’ by Rebecca Sullivan or the trusty Women's Weekly Cookbooks are great for recipes you can make for gifts.

Our favourites
Come to our markets of course!!! The Christmas Artisan Food Night Markets. 4-9pm Wed 18th Dec, Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie St Sydney.

Remember to leave a comment to win the hamper! How are you going to have a Real Food Christmas this year?



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