Australian artisans make some pretty ripper produce. If you’ve been down to your local market and had the pleasure of tasting some locally made preserves, smallgoods, or sourdough loaves, you'll know what we're talking about.
But times have been considerably tougher for small and independent producers of late, as many of the markets and events where they sell their wares have been scaled back, postponed or cancelled. Now, one of Sydney's most successful artisan brands is spearheading a digital movement to connect indie producers with hungry customers. To encourage people to support local and choose Australian-made products, Sydney’s own artisan butter connoisseurs at Pepe Saya have launched Aussie Artisan Week. Running from August 17-23, the initiative will encourage Sydneysiders to shop consciously and locally, purchasing the finest artisan-made goods direct from producers.
Pepe Saya is one of many independent makers that had to transform its business in response to ever-changing restrictions; with restaurants and markets forced to close down in March, online sales became the company's main source of revenue. Co-founders, Pierre Issa and Melissa Altman (pictured), noticed that many of their customers were heading directly to their website to order parcels of Pepe Saya's cultured butter, baring that unmistakable Roman-nosed profile. The volume of this direct-to-consumer trade led to collaborations with other artisans and the introduction of new products to level-up at-home gourmet experiences like crumpet care packages (in partnership with locally-baked outfit Crumpets by Merna), maple butter (perfect for topping pancakes), and a spicy, savoury nduja butter made with nduja (an Italian style of spreadable pork) from Pino’s Dolce Vita Italian Grocer in Kogarah.
In the lead-up to Aussie Artisan Week, Pepe Saya will paying this success forward by sharing the stories of other local makers on their Instagram page. Aussie producers can get involved by sharing stories of their own products using the hashtag #AussieArtisanWeek, and shoppers are also encouraged to share pictures of their artisan purchases using the same tag. Other producers already onboard for Aussie Artisan Week include Crumpets by Merna, Country Valley Dairy from the lush green hills of Picton, Olsson’s Sea Salt from the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight, Yarra Valley Caviar from rural Victoria, and Block 11 Organics, third-generation farmers based in central-western NSW and the Hawkesbury.
Your next purchase of gourmet goodies or handmade produce could directly support farmers and small businesses that are still grappling with the impacts of the current health crisis and the ongoing devastation of the summer bushfires, so dig deep, shop local, and enjoy all the delicious delicacies NSW has to offer.