A Community Lunch in the Truest Sense

By Robyn Nowell

“How about lunch in Seddon?” I was asked on Sunday morning. It was “The Community Farm” lunch at the Copper Pot, an event taking place as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, and with my lack of geographical knowledge of Melbourne, I was at first taken aback, slightly unsure as to how far I would be travelling to get to the farm.

But then I realised Seddon is only 15 minutes from the city centre. The Victorian countryside this certainly was not.

The event was conceptualised by the local council, together with Ashley Davis and Sascha Rust at the Copper Pot restaurant, to bring together a community and celebrate what grows in this Melbourne inner western suburb. Seddon is renowned for its abundance of fruit trees and vegetable patches. The great Aussie backyards here are literally overflowing with lovingly grown seasonal produce. And when the call went out for residents who might want to share their home-grown bounty with the restaurant, the response was extraordinary. Davis and Rust said they “were overwhelmed by the generosity”, and very impressed with the quality and variety of produce proudly delivered to them.

Our menu at the “Community Farm” lunch on Sunday included:

First course: Pickled Williamstown sardines and green olives. The olives were donated a year ago by a lovely Greek man who popped into Copper Pot and asked, “Would you like some olives?” The chefs cured them for a year and served them during the lunch. The “Olive Man”, however, remains a mystery as he never revealed his name and has not returned. I silently thanked him as I enjoyed the piquancy of his gift. The olives were served alongside a plate simply titled “The Western Suburbs Garden,” a dish of salad greens and others such as carrot tops and beetroot leaves that are often discarded, topped with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for additional depth and texture. We were off to a terrific start.

Second course: The main course included a huge pork knuckle, roasted to crackling perfection, with accompaniments such as beetroot chilli relish, apple and wild fennel chutney and kumquat marmalade. Is there anything that cannot be produced in Seddon and its surrounds?

Third course: Finishing on a high, I was delighted by the Seddon honey parfait, honeycomb and fresh figs – all my favourites in one dish. The flavours were made even more multi-dimensional by the inclusion of an incredible six varieties of figs.

Each dish was accompanied by local wines, such as the Eruption Cabernet Franc, made from grapes grown in Sunbury and pressed in Preston, and the Shadowfox Chardonnay, with grapes from Macedon and pressed in Geelong.

Whilst the celebration of the ‘Community Farm’ event was a one-off, I strongly recommend a visit to Copper Pot in Seddon. The philosophy of using local ingredients, community inclusion, limited wastage and attention to quality is shared by Davis, Rust and the entire team. In my opinion, they have succeeded in their vision of “bringing the experience of neighbourhood bodegas, trattorias and bistros of Europe back home to Melbourne’s inner west”.  Now that I know where Seddon is, I plan to return, perhaps on a regular basis.

Copperpot Seddon, 105 Victoria St., Seddon; (03) 8590 3505; copperpotseddon.com

This story was produced as a part of "Eat Your Words by Le Cordon Bleu," an immersive workshop on food and wine writing for new writers.