October 1, 2018
Humans of Eumundi: Hermitage Fine Foods
Words Layne Whitburn
Do you remember your first visit to the Original Eumundi Markets? Whether it was last weekend, last year or even 39 years ago – chances are you’ve seen Cookie and Peter from Hermitage Fine Foods. They are the originals.
They’ve been at the Original Eumundi Markets since its beginning in 1979. In fact, they were even there before the world-renowned markets began, with a stall around the corner at the Kin Kin Markets.
“The Eumundi Market is like a family away from home,” Cookie laughs.
So what keeps them coming back weekend after weekend, year after year?
Real, handmade food. It’s that simple.
“I have a passion for the country feel of a pantry full of gorgeous, homemade preserves and making bread and all things country,” Cookie explains.
This love started cooking 44 years ago when Cookie met her other love, Peter.
The duo met during a group play of My Fair Lady in Gympie in the ‘70s.
“I fell in love with his lifestyle … this was living in the country, growing your own food and living a simple lifestyle.
“We grew all our own veggies and I remember one time we had heaps of tomatoes which, when they ripen, would soon attract caterpillars and rot. This is when I started my first preserve, green tomato pickle!”
Fast forward 44 years and Cookie and Peter are still doing what they love.
As it turns out, lots of others love it too.
“We have customers who come back after 20 years and are thrilled to see us still there,” says Cookie.
“We even have daughters of former customers who come along and say, ‘I came here with my mum when I was little!’ Now she arrives with her husband and buys the same preserves she bought all those years ago.”
Cookie and Peter have even raised four beautiful girls all while keeping up appearances at their beloved stall in Eumundi.
“When our daughters were small, they slept under the market stall and used to lift up the stall cover to peak at the people’s feet,” Cookie laughs.
“Finally they grew tall enough to see over the counter and in the end, they became a part of the family business, managing the stall for some time.”
Now with their eldest aged 35 and youngest aged 29, they are all living away with their partners but keep in touch.
As for Cookie and Peter, the Original Eumundi Markets is just as much a part of their lives as it was 39 years ago.
Living on their farm, named Hermitage, growing organic fruit and veggies and hand-making delicious breads, quiches, chutneys, pickles, jams, sauces, pestos, biscuits, muffins, muesli and cakes, has been their life for the past four decades.
“Pursuing a dream takes a lot of energy, hard work, determination and passion to keep up the amount of years we have done at the markets,” Cookie explains.
“But the reward of customers appreciating your produce is all worth it.”
And the secret ingredient?
Love. Love for real food, the farm life and one another.
Have you experienced Australia’s Premier Artisan Market?
Renowned for its locally made artisan treasures, there’s no other market quite like it. Mark it in your diary – open rain, hail or shine every Saturday and Wednesday.
Australia’s Premier Artisan Market Est. 1979 • 80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi
Wednesday 8am-1.30pm and Saturday 7am-2pm • eumundimarkets.com.au