More than just another shed!

While the bigger ‘mothership’ is being built in the paddock next door, here’s a quick glimpse into the craftmanship from Chris at Rustic Reproductions with the work going on at one of The Artisan Farmer’s outlying buildings… Beautiful lines and framing everywhere!

 

An Auspicious Day

 

 

25 August 2020… An auspicious day for The Artisan Farmer project, with 36 HUGE HOLES OF PERFECTION FRESHLY DUG AND CEMENTED IN!!! Ah, the things we get excited about. Local earthmover extraordinaire Zane’s mechanical extended arm worked tirelessly to move truck loads of soil out with farm manager Murray’s help in readiness to welcome the steel frame for the build. With the large frame due in 5 weeks or so, follow this space for updates and another local producer’s story (soon to be released… yes, it’s been waiting on the sidelines for this moment) while the concrete cures. Here’s looking to mid 2021 for the grand opening!

 

 

 

New Beginnings

There’s no doubt the last six months across this region and beyond redefined the boundaries of ‘challenging’ for many Australians. But life is resilient, and despite the drought, bushfires, floods, and threat of Covid 19, work has continued behind the lockdown to realise the full potential of The Artisan Farmer within an onsite presence of a cafe, deli and bakery. So pop open that champagne bottle and watch this space, the site office has been delivered and the Construction Certificate and its commitments, are in. Sometimes it’s the journey as well as the destination that matters so please, join us as we take our steps, slowly but confidently, towards realising a dream.

 

Glorious Garlic

Mulch, mulch, mulch the garlic.

They say if you haven’t planted your garlic by May, then you might as well forget it.

Well, it’s now May, and as per usual I haven’t done a thing about it… But I bet Jan Goroncy has.

I first heard about Barrington’s Jan Goroncy when I was working at the local paper – a local fondly referred to him as ‘the father’ of Gloucester’s garlic movement, and it had just won a foodie award in Melbourne.

“Well,” I thought, “there’s a story.”

Juggling responsibilities between an online healthcare business and his farm near Barrington, Gloucester, Jan’s passion for wholistic farming is contagious. He is a biodynamic farmer – think Steiner, think anthroposophy,  linking a mystical cosmos to the natural world of scientific facts. He buries cow dung in cow horns in synch with seasons and the moon; undug months later, the revived dung no longer has the qualities of poo – it doesn’t smell but instead has turned into an incredibly rich, fertile soil which is heavily diluted with biodynamically ‘treated’ water and then used as a fertiliser. Of course I had to ask – turns out the water treatment is about ‘breaking the memory of the water’ – then I had to ask about that too and found a simple answer – all water on earth is recycled, so it has millions of years of memory. Now there’s an interesting concept!

With no chemicals used; locally re-purposed oyster shells ground for their calcium;  ‘heavily scented’ (there’s an understatement) re-purposed ‘fish stew’ brewed for, um… everything,  the farming is hard work, but the flavour of produce speaks for itself. Suffering from a slight bout of pneumonia at the time of filming, Jan’s garlic nonetheless blew my head off. Fantastic!!

 

 

 

GALLERY:

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.

 

 

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”

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