Felicia’s pride and choy

A GROWING PASSION: Felicia Nguyen with her Asian vegetables at the Slow Food Earth Market in The Levee yesterday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
A GROWING PASSION: Felicia Nguyen with her Asian vegetables at the Slow Food Earth Market in The Levee yesterday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

A love of Asian greens, and a visit to the Slow Food Earth Market, gave Felicia Nguyen the motivation to start her own vegetable plot.

The Vietnamese-born woman had never grown her own food and now her backyard is brimming with a huge range of produce.

There are a lot of Asian vegetables – bok choy and water spinach stand out – and there are others you have probably never heard of.

She has also experimented growing potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes and zucchini. 

Ms Nguyen has so much food in her garden that she hasn’t bought vegetables at the supermarket for months. 

In fact the couple cannot eat it all so she has started taking some of it to the Slow Food Earth Market in The Levee.

“It grew and grew and now I grow everything – I started with Asian vegetables and slowly I expanded the garden to grow everything else. The main thing is we grow for ourselves so we don’t have to buy much from the supermarket,” she said.

“I love growing but I never explored that I love growing this much until I tried it.

“Now I am so in love with it. My husband [Nick Las] at the beginning wasn’t into it, but now he likes it too.”

Ms Nguyen was at the market with her Asian greens on Thursday.

The move is bringing more diversity to the city’s fresh food revolution and exposing more people to Asian recipes.

“I love cooking Asian food –  stir fry with vegetables or I eat it raw as salad. Some people say to me that now they are so happy that they can buy Asian vegetables, because they didn’t know where to get it before,” she said. “Asian people have these vegetables every day. It’s something they miss if they cannot buy it.

“I know beacause when I moved here from Sydney I couldn’t buy organic Asian vegetables, and that was disappointing.”

But not everyone has been willing to give it a go. 

“Some people are happy to try it, some are a little bit concerned,” she said. “I enjoy seeing people and selling them vegetables. It’s not about how much I will sell.

“I became inspired from the market – eating fresh and organic vegetables is delicious. We are lucky, the backyard is quite big so it takes only one section of it.”

Most people spend the festive season taking a break, but Ms Nguyen has been hard at work expanding the vegetable patch.

She said the project was good for the environment, for their health, and was also very tasty. 

She is still perfecting her approach to varieties like pumpkin and tomatoes. 

“Next time I have to move the pumpkin to a different spot, it didn’t work well the first time,” she said. 

The next market is on January 18 from 2-7pm.