Doyle’s Dream

 

A farmer has to be pretty passionate about the paddock to plate concept to step out of their field and put words into action. Of course, Peter Doyle is no stranger to the gourmet ideal, having bred his Wagyu and heritage pigs not just for market, but for his own family’s consumption. Continue reading “Doyle’s Dream”

Mushroom Magic

Cute and edible!

One of the great things about this job is learning small things across a wide range of topics… And the field of mushrooms is no different… so if you already know that mushrooms ‘pin’, well, you are steps ahead of me.

Awhile back, I headed out to the hills behind Wingham to meet Levi and Kelly. The inspiring duo are putting their words into action, ‘living the dream’ to live off the land, growing exotic but highly edible (the all important word) mushrooms.

Armed with their own DIY science gleaned from that instructive omniscient resource called the Net, they successfully brave winter’s cold and beat summer’s heat to fight the good fight for their fungi, uncovering new depths to the terms ‘a sterile environment’ and ‘invention is the mother of necessity’ . This incredibly hardworking team has cheerfully approached the daunting task of growing shiitakes, oysters, king browns and more with creativity, determination and innovation, resulting in mouth-wateringly delicious results.

Amidst it all, they’ve been preparing to move the whole operation up the road to become bigger, better and even more carbon neutral. In fact, from what I’ve seen on their facebook page, that move is currently underway (that’ll be Mushrooms Episode #2!).

So forget those processed supermarket mushrooms – wrap your mouths around these tasty morsels instead. Thanks Mooral Creek Mushrooms!

Continue reading “Mushroom Magic”

Park It Here

As someone who used to live, drive and park in Sydney, I fully appreciate all efforts to think ahead when it comes to car parking. So here’s a quick homage and clap for The Artisan Farmer‘s recent earthworks on Woosters Lane – a precursor to the car, trailer and bus car park not to mention The Artisan Farmer itself – to follow.

 

 

Spicing It Up

Rosella fruit

Imagine throwing your energy and money into growing something for people who didn’t even know such produce existed. I realise all farming is a risk, but generally it follows trends enhanced by political or corporate decisions. To actually go out and decide to grow produce before the mass market (indigenous Australians excepted) actually exists is a pretty brave decision. But that’s exactly what native spice growers Barbara and Bruce Barlin from Barbushco decided to do, almost 30 years ago. And thanks to industry advocates, it’s paying off. Continue reading “Spicing It Up”

Culture and Chocolate

It’s no secret that I am addicted to chocolate. I keep it everywhere. Even as I sit here writing, I have some by my side. So when cheesemaker Peter from Comboyne Culture pointed me in the direction of Tash from Babalila Chocolates (located by the picturesque maze at Bago Vineyards’ tasting room, just over an hour north… just in case you’re looking for something kid and adult friendly during these summer holidays), I didn’t hesitate.

Like her chocolate, Tash’s background is rich and colourful (Baba is ‘grandmother’ in Russian. Lila was Tash’s mother, a Shanghai Russian prior to migrating to Australia. And her father? He was a Russian opera singer, singing to the masses. As I said… a colourful background!). So tapping into both her Russian and Australian heritage, the flavours and textures in her fondants are complex and… well, wonderful. Is it possible that history and the use of simple ancestral family utensils can add that extra sense of something special? Continue reading “Culture and Chocolate”

Starting 2018

What began as a sit-down to start the Eat My Farm story edit has evolved into a completely self-indulgent side-track with this quick visual journey. What a wonderful start to 2018!

Eat My Farm is the fresh garden market which will eventually provide The Artisan Farmer‘s cafe – right on its doorstep – with its fresh vegetable needs. Having watched it grow from a grazing paddock to flourishing veggie patch, I feel like this is an auspicious moment for 2018… A film about two individuals and their partners working towards a dream of sustainable living, from the dirt up? Bring it on!

While Eat My Farm were busy getting it all up and running, I intermittently popped in to film a timelapse of the ‘plot’  but as I strung it together, I thought it seemed a shame not to include the not inconsequential detail of growth along with it! Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together (full story to follow, another time… Oops!)

 

Keepin’ It Raw

Zoe and Shmu

My initial ‘testing the waters’ visit to Warinyan Farm to meet Bottled Culture fermenters Zoe and Shmu was bathed in the golden glow of the magic hour at the day’s end.

Without knowing much about fermenting food except for the ‘fizz’ and the fact there’s no heat applied, I was prepared for anything really but the terms linked to the fermenting process certainly took me by surprise! Burping; lactic bacterial acid; kombucha; scoby; culture; kimchi; gut health; bacteria; probiotics… and many more. Hopefully these unlikely candidates will soon be transformed into a marketing success to become the social norm, because their source is so delicious!

And just as Bottled Culture has transformed traditional fermenting recipes into something more, my lunchtime snacks have also been transformed. Sourdough with hommus (let’s stick with that spelling for now) and some chilli ‘Wacky Wombok’ kimchi topped with cooling cucumber… Yummo!   And I’m not talking just any hommus (although that is a delicious option), because Shmu has tapped into his middle eastern foodie upbringing to turn the traditional into the untraditionnal – I’m talking fermented sweet potato instead of chickpea hommus (who would have thought!), or a fermented babaganoush.

Then as if growing vegies wasn’t enough, they have been ‘growing’ their own home, with a mix of mud and more. And when the light pushes through those recycled bottles encased within the walls, it’s something to behold. Grand Designs – watch out.

Zoe and Shmu – talking the talk and walking the walk – they are living life sustainably, exactly as they see it. Thanks so much for the privilege of witnessing it, and tasting it!

For the film and photos, click here. 

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Welcome to The Artisan Farmer

There’s been a bit of movement on the northern edge of Nabiac lately, and the word is slowly getting around.

The building of a gourmet food outlet in the region is underway.

Drive past the block on the Pacific Highway, corner of Woosters Lane, you might have seen local man Zane Temple’s earth shifting prowess in action, readying the block for The Artisan Farmer, a locally built food hub celebrating… well, food.

It’s fair to say it’s a milestone moment in a 20-year dream for the Doyle family, locals who moved to the region almost two decades ago from Sydney to raise their family and a bevy of farm animals including Wagyu herds, pigs, and sheep. Once a weekly commuter between Nabiac and Sydney, Peter Doyle moved his core business closer to home several years ago to enjoy what’s now a five minute commute.

Freed up to spend more time on the farm with his family, along with the food he has turned his gaze homeward to find others who are on their own journeys to embrace the lifestyle they dream of. As a result, The Artisan Farmer will eventually include on menus and shelves an extended family of local producers, contributing towards not just a retail deli, but a bakery, café, and produce outlet. The gardening team behind Eat My Farm – Tim and Ange – are already well and truly in the thick of growing many of the vegies which will eventually supply The Artisan Farmer, and more (look out for those weekly boxes!).

Taking the concept beyond a gourmet meal, a library of specially commissioned short films will also showcase some of the stories behind regional produce – stories which are helping inspire the project as it grows. After all, what does lead people to move out of their comfort zone to live their dream? (Just please take care not to run over the girl on the bike in the films, if you happen to see her on the backroads.)

So as the concrete is readied for the mixer, as the pad is flattened and the roads established and the people to run it brought on board, starting from the end of this week we will release a little taste of those stories, with more to come. We hope they will whet your appetite!

Thanks for the interest,

Bec