Let’s band together to support local business this Christmas and beyond

Vince Garreffa
Vince Garreffa with 36kg traditional Parmigiano cheese wheel

West Australians have shown they care about small retailers with a show of support through the COVID-19 pandemic, says Inglewood butcher Vince Garreffa from Mondo.

It’s something he hopes will continue to Christmas and beyond.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of people going to smaller shops because they could see how much of a crush it was in supermarkets and they could see how supermarkets could not turn around and replenish stocks overnight,” Vince says.

“Small businesses, even if the cabinet was empty, are able to go around the back and grab some more product which has been a big plus for local shops.”

Vince believes there has been a 50 per cent downturn in interstate supplies which has also played a role in retail availability.

“The longer distance produce has to travel the more difficult it becomes.”

Vince is also concerned about government’s willingness to open up Australia to overseas suppliers.

“I’m very concerned the government just keeps on opening up the doors for overseas companies to supply more and more into Australia, whether it’s pork or fruit – and they don’t realise what they are actually doing is signing a death warrant for those industries in our country.

“We have some of the best produce in the world, but the people who are paid to pick it are paid Australian wages and our overseas competitors are using Third World labour at lower wages.

“It also means we’re getting produce out of season to us, that is in season in America, Europe or Africa. To me it’s a criminal act that’s helping Australia bleed to death.

“We’ll get to the stage where the stone fruit people will all go bankrupt and we won’t eat stone fruit at Christmas time and can only eat it during the winter months when it’s ripe in America.

“What I get upset about is sometimes when there are peaches available in winter time because they come from America, I’ve seen them selling for $15 or $20 a kilo and when our local ones come out they’re $6 to $8 and they’re knocked down by supermarkets so they sell them for $3 a kilo.

Vince believes Australians have woken up to how much damage can be done when they can’t get services because Australia is no longer producing them.

“You can’t have a country like ours that doesn’t even make a wheelbarrow.”

“It’s not acceptable.”

Support Lifeline in a cheese cutting ceremony!

Inglewood butcher Vince Garreffa is more than part showman. And when he combines his butchery skills with a bit of theatre, it’s a real work of art.

Throw in anything to do with his Italian heritage and there’s little that’s more entertaining.

So stand by when Vince takes centre stage for a Lifeline charity event to celebrate the third birthday of the cheese with what Vince says will be Western Australia’s first public celebration of the cutting of a 36kg traditional Parmigiano cheese wheel.

“This stuff is not normally seen in public and as far as I know the public has never been invited to see one of these in Western Australia,” Vince says.

The birthday party for up to 100 guests will be held on 26 November at Vince’s Mondo Butchers Shop at 824 Beaufort Street in Inglewood and will feature an Italian banquet as well as the theatre that takes place around the cutting of the cheese wheel.

A roast porchetta (suckling pig) will be the centrepiece of the feast and drinks and entertainment will also be supplied with Italian foods and antipasto.

All profits from the $125 per person tickets which can be found at www.birthday.mcwlifelinewa.events will go to Lifeline.

Cheese from the wheel will also be available for purchase with prices ranging from $75 for a kilo to $260 for 5kg.

Vince says most of the cheeses these days are machine cut, but the old world still cuts it by hand with small stainless-steel knives.

“We’re going to show people how we can cut it down into some large pieces before we finish it off in smaller pieces with the saw for people to buy one or two kilos,” Vince says.

“It’s an amazing thing to see happen.”