The Garden Shed & Pantry
What sort of place is The Garden Shed and Pantry?
My home shop brings together growing and cooking food. The Garden Shed refers to my desire to help people grow food with local seeds, using highest quality garden tools and personal advice. The Pantry is a cornucopia of organic, Australian wholefoods and ingredients that I source directly from farmers, millers and artisans all over Australia, to turn those home-grown fruits and vegetables, eggs and meat into food fit for the gods.
I also run workshops in my kitchen: my most famous being foolproof, simple sourdough. For those unable to attend a workshop, I sell kits which I post Australia-wide. My other workshops include fermenting and sprouting, naturally gluten free as well as seed Saving. I love doing workshops and seeing people’s faces light up with joy when they realise how easy it is to incorporate ancient ways into our modern lives, to bring vitality to their bodies, their children and their homes.
Cygnet is a town of 1,000 people or so, nestled in a bay in southern Tasmania that once was a port shipping thousands of tons of apples annually to England. Fruit and nut growing is returning again making Cygnet and surrounds a fertile destination both for tree changers and tourists. This is the right time here for a little shop like mine.
The Cygnet Market has become renowned for its excellent produce and artefacts and I have a huge stall there too, up on the stage in the Town Hall. The market now spreads outside, down the street and across the road.
How did The Garden Shed and Pantry come to be?
Life allows us to take many journeys and one of these brought me to my acre of paradise in Cygnet in 2010, alone and in need of an income. I am passionate about organic and Australian ingredients and, unable to find everything I needed, I decided to start a small shop in my house.
I keep as much Tasmanian product as I can. I talk to farmers at local and interstate markets and scour the internet to find individual growers and small-scale millers who can tell me their story and provide me with their products at a good price.
Everything has to be fresh. You will not find rancid flour or old nuts in my shop! It is a challenge to keep supplies flowing in and out at a rate that means nothing gets old but also nothing runs out!
There has been slow but steady growth as word of mouth, a website and Facebook page, happy customers and workshop participants spread the news that I am here. Writing the monthly garden page for our local paper has given me a leg up and now I feel secure about my future. I don’t want to be tied to a shop in the main street, I’d rather be out in my garden when business is quiet!
What prompted you to put a pile of Pip on the shelf?
Permaculture has always been a part of my life, ever since Bill and David wrote Introduction to Permaculture. In fact, I am soon to host a Permablitz here in my garden!
I was sad when a previous Australian permaculture magazine ceased and overjoyed when I bought the first copy of Pip. As with so many of the things I sell, first I buy them for myself, then, if they are good and follow my small footprint philosophy of life, I start selling them. The Pip crew are lovely to deal with and that is also important to me, as I do what I do for the love of it and hope it makes me some money as well.