You know when you are harvesting your fruit tree and the sweetest tasting fruit is always in those hard to reach places. Up to high, hidden behind the canopy or being protected by an army of spiders. Well finding local produce stalls and outlets in the Riverland is a bit the same.
More often than not, there are local produce roadside stalls right in front of you. Well 200m in front of you but you always see the sign at the last minute because you are too caught up in the moment, singing at the top of your lungs and you have to do a U-turn to go back and get the local produce! This always happens to me at this stall on the Sturt Highway out of Waikerie, great supply of local produce, you just have to remember to safely pull over!
There are also those quirky and hidden places to get fresh local produce, like the shoe shop in Waikerie or Berri Toyworld.
Being a local and with the help of word of mouth, you can hunt down the best places to get the freshest and juiciest local produce. Waikerie also has a community “buy swap and sell” group that promotes old style “I’ll swap you my 10 zucchini for two bunches of basil” dealings.
Me? Well, I love sourcing fresh figs from my boss, avocados and lemons from close friends and more avocados from my in laws (can never have too many avocados)!
Sometimes it’s hard to get the local insider information if you are passing through, so here are some places that I like to visit to get the cream of the crop and the best local produce!
This stall is on the left as you head towards Monash from Renmark on the Sturt Highway. Big red tomatoes (best for Greek salads), mandarins, apricots, nectarines, fresh herbs, enormous spring onions, dates (from Gurra Downs) normal onions, garlic, cherries, blood oranges (a family favourite), cucumbers, lemons, pumpkins, melons….you get the picture – anything that is in season!
This unsuspecting khaki shed on the corner of Enduro Road and Cadell Valley Road, Waikeire, is home to my favourite strawberries and boyfriend approved tomatoes (he’s just as fussy with his tomatoes as I am with my coffee)!
Come wintertime, the toymasters wont just help kill boredom when the weather keeps you indoors, they will also help you kill winter colds. How? Well it’s not with the new GI Joe Doctor Dolls, it’s with the fruit that the Riverland is most famous for – ORANGES – plump with the perfect amount of juice to run down your arms and not too acidic for those like me with a delicate pallet. Nature’s superfood- super source of natural vitamin C.
Illalangi‘s shop is tucked amongst the cluster of service shops at Waikerie on the Sturt Highway. Illalangi actively promote the Eat Local ethos and constantly have a range of fresh produce available from local gardens in the Waikeire and surrounding areas. From aromatic herbs, to seeds to plant your own garden, citrus, figs, nuts, tomatoes, strawberries and a lot more. Many of the delicious gourmet products they sell are also made from local ingredients, making it easy for you to look local first!
Woody’s Variety store
Woody’s is also along the Sturt Highyway at Waikerie and they are definitely a variety store! Expect to find everything from camping equipment to kids toys, furnites and of course a good supply of local produce! Massive melons, oranges, pumpkins, potatoes, onion, corn, capsicum (watch out for the banana ones, they can have some spice), apples, carrots, peaches, nectarines the list grows as large as pumpkins in the Cadell Harvest Festival’s Giant Pumpkin Competition!
When cherry season hits (November-December) the magical cherry season fairies pop their signs out which guide you towards the freshest, plumpest little morsels that scream CHRISTMAS TIME! Keep an eye out for the signs when passing by Barmera.
The Barmera district is teeming with local produce spots. 571 Hunt Road is the shop front for a local fruit and vegetable delivery business, Riverland Fresh. You can either order from their website for delivery to your door (which is super convenient by the way) or pop in a buy some good quality produce. When they can’t source it in the Riverland, they search SA for quality produce, still supporting the local first theme.
On Gordon Road, you will find Mason’s who are open 7 days and are a well known family name for local produce in the region. You can see their sign on the Sturt Highway when passing Barmera which will direct you to where the goods are!
Apples good enough to drink are grown on this orchard! You can pick up a bag of the crunchiest apples at this humble apple orchard just out of Loxton along Bookpurnong Road- once again keep an eye out for the signs! This orchard also produces a lovely range of boutique apple cider which is just as delicious as their apples!
Boots n All
I think the “All” part of the name “Boots n All” covers off nicely that 1. you will find shoes and that 2. you will find all types of shoes, and all sorts of local produce in s tore!Not the first place to think of to get your veggies for a roast dinner, but it is a quirky one and will catch peoples attention when you say to Beth next door, “Look at these peaches I picked up from the shoe shop!” Come for local potatoes, avocados, pears, onions, apricots, leeks etc and also a variety of garden plants!
Of course the Riverland Farmer’s Markets, which are held every Saturday morning in Berri, are a fantastic source for fresh Riverland fruit and veg and also a range of other local goods (I love the chilli olives-the stall name escapes me- and stone fruit from Bookpurnong Fruits!)
Who needs fancy “superfoods” from packets when you can have fresh superfoods straight from the tree, vine or bush!
An abundance of local knowledge to help you find the best local produce. Follow the signs that lead the way!