Love a Local Lemon

Peter, our local lemon farmer

Peter, our local lemon farmer

Citrus is still in season (how perfect of nature to deliver all the fruity vitamin C for our winter sniffles) but as we come near the end of our local season, we are busy stockpiling for the summer. You see, we do something a bit unusual. We source our lemons from a local certified organic farm, Koonorigan Organics, located just 27 kms down the road. We then juice enough lemons to last us until next year so we don’t have to truck less than fresh lemons from around Australia when they are out of season.

Cold press lemon juice is an essential ingredient in all our traditionally brewed drinks, keeping the acidity and fermentation just right. Peter, our lemon farmer at Koonorigan Organics, cares for his crops with sustainable land management practices and is certified organic by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA).

Peter grows, picks and delivers the lemons in his trusty ute and we juice them the same day and freeze the juice immediately. By Spring, we have all the lemon juice we will need for the next 9 months frozen to see us through until next season. This system keeps the juice super fresh, supports organic agriculture, (don’t worry we use 100% renewable power to keep the juice frozen) and saves thousands of food miles.

But local food isn’t just about food miles, its about relationships and community. Have you heard about the price squeezing tactics the big supermarkets do to small farmers? Check out these articles here and here if you need a reminder. (For a good news story try here, farmers forming co-operatives to fight back. Yeah!)

Meanwhile I made a list of the little things we do to keep our farmers happy.

  1. We buy straight from the farmer. This means the guy that grows the lemons gets all the money without a wholesaler taking a cut in the middle.
  2. Our orders fit in with his other farm activities. Peter delivers to us in his farm ute, usually when he has to come to town anyway. This means fewer emissions, less food miles and costs involved in lemons traveling across the country (or across the planet!) to central city markets to be transported out to us again.
  3. We buy all the ugly lemons and seconds. Because we love them and we are going to juice them anyway.
  4. We save his lemon boxes for him to pick up and re-use. Saving peter money and saving trees for boxes (oh and transport again). Organic certification requires deliveries in new boxes or boxes only used for certified organic produce to protect from inadvertent contamination. It’s really that strict.

Thanks Peter! We really love your lemons!

We are doing our best to support local organic farmers using more sustainable agricultural techniques. I would love to hear your thoughts on what else we could do and how you want to see businesses support more ethical and sustainable solutions. Please leave a comment below or connect on social media.

Katrina

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