A return to getting the most out of all of our ingredients, both for flavour and with a view to reducing the waste we create has moved beyond a trend and become a well-established lifestyle choice for many Australians.
Backyards like never before are yielding home grown produce, chickens, composting systems and fruit trees, the bounty of which are eaten in the home.
Spearheading this movement are Alex Elliot-Howery and her husband James Grant, who opened Cornersmith café in Sydney’s inner western suburb of Marrickville in 2011. Beyond serving great coffee, their idea was to work within an ideology of sustainably providing their community with food, which included offering locals barter for the produce they could bring from their backyards to fill Alex’s pickle jars.
With a passion for preserving, from the outset Alex set out to create a range of pickles, chutneys and condiments to accompany the dishes they sold in their café and, together with chef Sabine Spindler did just that. A demand for their preserves grew of its own accord and they began selling them in the cafe and eventually set up a dedicated picklery in second Marrickville location.
“We pickle not just because we love the taste,” says Alex, “But because pickling is an important food tradition that needs to be understood and passed down the generations.”
In addition to a custom built picklery the site now hosts Cornersmith’s many educational workshops, teaching classes in seasonal preserving, fermenting, bread making, cheesemaking and vegan cookery.