City buys 400 broccoli, 400 cauliflower, to stop food waste

PASSION: Chef and Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster is urging chefs across the city to join the Slow Food Chefs Alliance and help combat food waste. Picture: Belinda-Jane Davis
PASSION: Chef and Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster is urging chefs across the city to join the Slow Food Chefs Alliance and help combat food waste. Picture: Belinda-Jane Davis

Maitland shoppers rescued 800 vegetables in the biggest call to arms since last year’s pop-up pumpkin stall. 

Four hundred broccoli heads and 400 cauliflowers grown on fertile plains in East Maitland found new homes in 24 hours after a plea to save them went viral. 

Shoppers and a few chefs flocked to Readers Cafe in East Maitland to buy Matthew and Liam Dennis’s crops after unusually warm weather made the crops ripen too quickly.

“It was really the individual people who came, and came and came, until they were all gone who saved the day,” cafe owner and Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster said. 

“A few chefs bought some too which was great to see, and hopefully we can expand that network.”

Plea to eat broccoli, cauliflower, goes viral

Ms Dempster said the drive showed that building a Slow Food chef’s alliance in the city was an important step in helping to combat food waste. 

Imagine if we had a network of chefs that we could talk to when this kind of thing happens. Chefs can easily take larger quantities of produce and put it on their menus so the food isn’t wasted and the farmer receives a fair price for what he has grown

Amorelle Dempster

Ms Dempster praised the city for rising to the challenge and helping to save the crop. 

“What we’ve done is create such an awareness of fresh food so people are really supporting it – the whole place now understands about fresh food and that’s amazing,” she said.

 “Suddenly the crop has been rescued and farmer Matt has got some income from it; if that hadn’t happened it all would have gone to waste while the supermarkets are still charging $3.99 for a cauliflower and wanting to pay the farmer such a small amount.”

The next Slow Food Earth Markets Maitland is on September 7 from 2-6pm.

Maitland’s fresh food revolution 

See how far we’ve come …

To join the chefs alliance visit www.slowfoodhuntervalley.com.au