Rocco Tripodi (pictured left) can’t think of a time when the Queen Victoria Market hasn’t been a major part of his life. His parents first started trading at the Market over 50 years ago, starting JT’s Fruit & Vegetable Supplies, a fruit and vegetable stall in A Shed now run by his older brother John (pictured right).
Rocco, a regular fixture at the Market started his own business, Market Juice in 2001. Market Juice is well entrenched in the Market and one of the premium suppliers to Melbourne’s cafe scene supplying high profile establishments such as Café Vue, Seven Seeds and Cutler & Co.
Rocco says “these days it’s not uncommon to find three generations of our family behind the counter. For us, it’s all about making the most of what’s on our doorstep and making juice that our customers love.
Our aim has always been to bring market shoppers the best quality juice using 100% Australian produce. It’s a no brainer. By using the best market fresh produce and not using additives, preservatives or concentrates, our juice can’t help but be good. Our customers keep coming back because we consistently produce a beautiful, fresh product that’s full of goodness.”
Rocco, tells us what he loves about Queen Vic, “I love the variety of produce available as well as the general atmosphere, colour and movement. It’s such a unique place to work as it has a sense of community that never ceases to amaze me. It’s also so much part of our family’s history. I think when you work in the food industry you can’t help but build relationships with your customers.
We have some great customers who are always sharing ideas, recipes and, best of all, samples of their efforts in the kitchen. There’s always banter and not just between the vendors but with our customers as well!
So many people see shopping as a chore, but this isn’t the case when they come to the Queen Vic Market. People are generally in a great mood and you can’t help but feed off that as a vendor.”
Here are Rocco’s tips for buying and storing produce this winter;
- Kohlrabi – go for a firm smaller bulbs with healthy green foliage. To store remove the leaves and store in sealed plastic bag in refrigerator to prolong the life of the kohlrabi.
- Beetroot – trim the leaves and stems from about 2 inches above the bulb otherwise the leaves and stems will drain the beetroot of moisture.
- Parsnip – always go for small to medium parsnips with a firm skin, they keep well for up to a week in the crisper in an unsealed plastic bag.
- Limes – Keeping limes in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge will make your limes last a lot longer than if left at room temperature. To get maximum juice from a lime, try zapping it in the microwave for approx 8-12 seconds or rolling it on a hard surface before juicing.
- Fennel – select fennel that have firm bright green fronds. To store fennel, remove the stalks and leaves/fronds and wrap these in cling wrap. This prevents the fennel from drying out. Don’t discard the top leaves as they have a great fresh flavour.
Check out Rocco’s recipe for roasted fennel and parsnip – a perfect match for roasted meats, especially pork.
You can find Market Juice 5 days a week at Stall 26 in A Shed.