When you walk into a fruit shop you are greeted by a riot of colours and flavours from tart oranges, to juicy red tomatoes, crisp cos lettuce, earthy brown mushrooms, knobbly ginger and sweet purple grapes.The possibilities to create a delicious meal are endless and all have been sourced by your local fruiterer early in the morning before we are even awake. I have been blessed to live near some exceptional fruit shops here in Brisbane ; from my local here in The Gap – Fresco’s to the days when my children were growing up in Clayfield and our twice weekly jaunt to The Clayfield Markets must have felt like a visit to Aladdin’s Cave for them.
The Clayfield Markets have been owned by the friendly Carlo and Susan Lorenti for as long as I can remember. You might know Carlo as Mr Mango, that guy who buys the first ripe box of mangoes every year and generously donates the proceeds to charity. But this is 2020, a year of change, and it is a comforting, nostalgic change that is blowing through the iconic Clayfield Markets. After 30 years the family – owned Harris Farm Markets are coming back to Queensland and giving the site a brand new look. They are also expanding to another iconic site at West Village in West End to create their flagship store by taking over part of the old Peter’s Ice Cream Building. This site was built in the 1920’s by American migrant, Fred Peters.
Harris Farm used to own the Clayfield site 30 years ago before handing it over to Susan and Carlo. Coming full circle they will rebuild, redesign and changeover before opening by late November with Susan, Carlo and many of their staff staying on. Features will be a tomato shed, organic produce section, as well as a gourmet grocery section of boutique local products, an extensive deli and a bakery and meat section. In all the space will create more than 200 jobs for Queenslanders and stock some of our favourite Queensland producers including , organic milk and dairy from Barambah, My Berries from Caboolture, Brisbane’s Roza’s Gourmet Sauces and organic chicken from Hobbs Family Farm Organic in Pittsworth.
Local growers and consumers alike will rejoice and enjoy a flavour – filled showcase of Queensland and Australian produce all under one roof in the Harris Farm’s historic family home. In a year where we have seen the closure of so many Queensland businesses it is great to see jobs being created and new life being established in some of these sites harking back to yesteryear.
Australian families should have access to the freshest and truly seasonal produce and it will be great to witness the rebirth of these one stop fresh produce sites. Now more than ever it is important to shop local and stock local. New developments like these will breathe life into our economy and preserve our healthy quintessential Queensland lifestyle. I can’t wait to taste the tomatoes from the new tomato shed and see if the tomatoes finally taste like those from my childhood!
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).