It must be twenty years since I last went to the Lismore Showground. As a child growing up, I would go to the Lismore Show every year. And it was a practice in our family that you always got a new outfit for the show, it was that important. Also, going to high school just down the road, the Lismore Showground was something that was a strong part of my consciousness.
Twenty years later, the area hasn’t changed yet much. I noticed some of the nearby houses had been removed, possibly due to the ongoing flooding problem the area has. Or perhaps they’d fallen down with age. North Lismore is one of the oldest parts of Lismore, and for most of its history has been the city’s poorest suburb.
The showground hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. The pavillions looked pretty much the same. About the only difference was a little more concrete and bitumen. And of course, they now have a regular Farmers Market. But this is not some kind of yuppie farmer market, I can assure you. In the midst of the gourmet cheese and bread, there were also chooks for sale, and you could buy some sugar cane mulch. But you can also see it in the faces of the people selling produce.
There was a massive influx of farming people from the far South Coast to the North Coast in about 1910 due to drought and a rabbit plague. In turn, those people were mostly from an Irish or Scottish farming background with short statures and identifiable features. I can’t really articulate what that means, except to say, “you can recognise your own gene stock”.
In the end, I bought some local coffee, some cheese from Paul and Kerry, a loaf of bread, and some local preserves (a present for my sisters). Although we haven’t eaten the cheese yet, the tastings were excellent. My favourite was a lemon myrtle flavoured fetta, closely followed by a fairly mild blue, both made with goat’s milk. Nimbin Valley Cheese from the Nimbin Valley Dairy, remember that name…