Thirroul's new makers market first stop for sustainable shoppers

Stephanie Meades and Mariel Hiney-Wilms will help find creative ways to work superfoods into your diet at the Flame Tree Community Food Co-op stand at the Wild Rumpus Makers Markets. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Stephanie Meades and Mariel Hiney-Wilms will help find creative ways to work superfoods into your diet at the Flame Tree Community Food Co-op stand at the Wild Rumpus Makers Markets. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Chia seeds, coconut oil, goji berries. We've all heard the benefits of these so-called superfoods touted far and wide, but how many of us actually know how to incorporate them into our meals?

Sure, sprinkling seeds over your cereal is easy, as is swallowing a tablespoon of oil, but it's not exactly innovative, or appetising.

But the Flame Tree Community Food Co-op wants to help. The Thirroul-based stockist of locally grown, organic whole foods is setting up a 'Take and Create' stall at the Maker's Market at Anita's Theatre this weekend to showcase the wholesome ingredients they offer and give people an idea on how to use unfamiliar foods to their full potential.

The stall is an extension of the favourite ingredient blackboard in the shopfront on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, where a hero food is chosen each week and a recipe that features it are provided for people to try.

"People are genuinely more thoughtful about what they buy and who's behind that product."

Whether it's incaberries, kuzu or coconut flour, market stall co-ordinator Stephanie Meades said people were always keen to know what the benefits of their foods were and how to best cook with them.

Alongside the mini muffins made in fruity combinations such as date and orange and raspberry and coconut, and next to to the chocolate-dipped fig and pistachio balls, the stall will also offer some of the foods the store stocks already packaged in glass jars.

"Usually we don't sell a high volume of packaged goods, but what we've done is bottle some produce so people can start the process and come back in and reuse those jars and bottles next time they're ready to fill up," Mrs Meades said.

The sweet treats for sale will also come with a recipe card, so people can recreate the snack at home.

Mariel Hiney-Wilms, volunteer co-ordinator at Flame Tree, said since the co-op opened in 2010, people's thirst for knowing where foods comes from had grown.

"It's evident from the customers we get that there's a passionate interest in whole food, knowing where their food comes from and knowing that they're not eating food that's processed or containing additives," she said.

"It also ticks the box in terms of shopping sustainably and making a conscious choice to do their bit."

All stalls at the maker's market, which will feature the products of designers, artists, crafty types and makers, adhere to this philosophy.

Wild Rumpus co-founder Caitlin Marshall said people's desire for quality products that are made close by continued to grow.

"We have the most incredible range of creators and makers. We are still getting emails every day from local makers wanting a stall and we've been booked out for a couple of months," she said.

"We're keen to promote the 'made in Wollongong' brand, to show people that they don't need to travel elsewhere for beautiful, well-made, artisan items."

"People are genuinely more thoughtful about what they buy and who's behind that product."

The markets also feature music, food, a bar and pop-up classes on printmaking, etching and making natural skincare products.

The Wild Rumpus Makers Market is on Sunday, at Anita's Theatre, Thirroul, from noon to 4pm. Entry is via a gold coin donation.

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