25 September 2023

Oysters, jazz and a banjo all on show at the Capital Region Farmers Market

| James Day
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Banjo holding his banjo in front of the trailer he uses to sell oysters.

Banjo’s Oysters sells local oysters, lobsters and prawns. Photo: Three Sides Marketing.

If you’ve forgotten how to cook all the delicacies coming out of our local region, have no fear. This Saturday (23 September) Capital Region Farmers Market is bringing back its Foodie Fun Days, a monthly event where visitors can watch and sample live cooking demonstrations.

First on the line-up is Banjo’s Oysters. The stall is run by Michael Young, an oyster farmer who has been operating his family business from the far south coast since 1991.

Market manager Sarah Power says the markets are great at displaying local produce but the fun days offer the opportunity to show how it actually tastes and the creative process involved.

“Last year we gave out a smash hit meal. It was a traditional Slovenian breakfast, which consisted of bread, honey and a couple of slices of apple,” she said.

“My kids eat it for breakfast every day now.

“People often discover different ways by cooking on their own, so we thought this was a good way to get them into doing it.”

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On Saturday, Michael will demonstrate how to eat oysters and will play his very own banjo alongside four-piece local jazz band The Utter Gutter Serenaders.

But the real star of the show is the New Orleans Po Boys – a hollowed-out French baguette stuffed with oysters, bacon and Cajun spices.

This culinary specialty was popularised by the jazz musicians and partygoers of the Louisiana capital in the early 20th century. What made them so popular was how easy they were to handle and eat while carrying instruments and running from gig to gig.

The two live demonstrations on how to make Po Boys will be held at 9 am and 10:30 am.

A plate with two Po Boy sandwiches stacked on top of each other, with oysters and bacon inside it.

Michael will be teaching Canberrans how to make New Orleans Po Boys, an iconic dish of the Louisiana jazz scene. Photo: Three Sides Marketing.

Sarah says there’s no need to worry about how fresh the seafood is.

“He’s the one literally pulling it out of the river during the week and bringing it up to Canberra. It doesn’t pass through anyone else’s hands except Michael’s and our customers here on Saturday morning,” she said.

“We also thought it was a brilliant time of year to showcase them because we’re coming into oyster season.”

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Apart from the Southern delights of the sea, Sarah says visitors will be able to sample the usual spread of fresh produce over the coming months.

“We’re coming into a really, really good time of year when spring and summer is coming. So things like asparagus are starting back this weekend, and over the next few weeks we’ll be seeing more fruits.

“Music will be on most weekends as well, and it’s just a really amazing atmosphere to buy all your produce straight from the farmers.”

The Capital Region Farmers Market is open from 7:00 am to 11:30 am at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC). You can find out more about the event on the website.

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