Like many home vegetable gardeners, Richard Dowling suffers from one serious, but welcome, problem. Food gluts.
Richard, like so many of us, turned his excess into pickles, giving it away to welcoming family and friends. Those very same friends, impressed by the quality, urged Richard to sell his pickles at the Orange Region Farmers Market. In 2013, Franklin Road Preserves was born.
Richard’s first batches of pickles came out of his garden at the back of his home on Franklin Road, and for years that garden was sufficient, providing just enough zucchini and cucumber to keep everyone happy. But with extra demand, and the desire to keep production all home grown, came the necessity to expand the garden.
“A friend offered me some land out at Nashdale,” Richard said, “So I leapt at the chance and now we can grow enough to satisfy demand.”
Franklin Road Preserves most popular pickles are the classics like bread and butter cucumbers, apple sauce and for the adventurous, eggplant kasundi.
“My maternal grandmother handed down the bread and butter cucumber recipes,” Richard said, “and we were given the eggplant kasundi recipe from Natalie Forsyth-Stock from Ferment Wine Centre in Orange. It’s proven to be really popular with vegetarians.”
During the warmer months, when the zucchini and cucumber are prolific, production in the Franklin Road kitchen is in full swing ensuring that what is sold at the markets, is truly local.
“All the fresh produce used in our preserves is home grown using organic methods,” Richard said, “I have not used any chemicals in my vegetable garden since then 2010. So while we are not certified organic, all our vegetables are chemical free.”
With the extra space now available in Nashdale, Richard is expanding his range. In 2013 he planted Cornichons, a French style gherkin that’s pickled in the jar.
At the Orange Region Farmers Market Richard will be selling scrambled eggs with crispy prosciutto and the eggplant kasundi.
“The eggplant goes incredibly well with the scrambled eggs,” Richard said.
The July Orange Region Farmers Market are on Saturday the 11th of June from 8.30 to 12.30 in the Agricultural Pavillion at the Orange Showground, Leeds Parade, Orange.