Australian food news: all the latest
Farmers are a resilient lot, but sometimes Mother Nature gets the upper hand. Luckily, Aussies also look after their own. Making headlines this week was the story of an Australian children’s author who’s donating all the proceeds of his new book to help dairy farmers impacted by the recent floods. You can find out more, including how to buy a copy of the book, below. Also in Aussie food news, “flat” stone fruit is coming soon to a supermarket near you, the best and worst products of 2021 are revealed and our pineapple growers team up to help raise funds for an important charity this summer.
Reversing the decline of Sydney rock oysters
A new multi-university research project to help the Sydney rock oyster acclimatise to climate change is aiming to prevent future declines in the species’ production. The project hopes to provide the oyster industry with the knowledge to breed oysters that can better adapt to ocean warming and acidification. Sydney rock oysters are farmed predominantly on the south-east coast of Australia and are highly vulnerable to climate change.
Sustainability “commonplace” on farms
The majority of farmers surveyed in an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences study are now using sustainable land management practices to improve natural resources and drought resilience. Eighty-four percent are now retaining crop stubble, which captures water and benefits soil health. Nearly 70 percent are reducing use of pesticides. And a significant number have also taken part in the National Landcare Program. More than half have taken up new land management practices as a result.
Flat stone fruit on its way
Flat fruit is not usually something to get excited about. But the arrival of Ondine flat stone fruit will certainly have consumers feeling curious. The flat peaches and nectarines are already available across Europe. Now the first Australian-produced Ondine stone fruit is due to hit supermarkets later this year. Look out for them during the summer stone fruit season.
New facility to boost Victorian fruit and veg exports
The Victorian Government has launched a new state-of-the-art trade facility in China, to help the state’s fruit and vegetable companies grow their global sales and reach new opportunities. Vic House will provide the Victorian agriculture industry with a sector-specific facility in Shanghai. It will be dedicated to the exclusive promotion of Victorian agricultural products, in place of trade shows impacted by COVID and travel restrictions.
If you grow ’em, know ’em
This summer, Pure Gold Pineapples will launch a campaign to help fund McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses. “If you Grow ’em, Know ’em” sends a tongue-in-cheek message about the importance of breast awareness year-round. The campaign will be backed by a fundraising initiative to help fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses. These legends support families experiencing breast cancer across Australia. Pure Gold Pineapples will be selling special pines this summer with a portion of sales going to the McGrath Foundation.
Holly the Holstein helps farmers
The author of a children’s book about a Holstein cow called Holly is raising funds for dairy farmers on the NSW mid-north coast who were impacted by floods. Russell Smith had just finished Holly the Holstein when the once-in-a-century floods hit. Smith grew up on a dairy farm in Queensland, so he’s well aware of the many difficulties dairy farmers face. And so, he decided to donate all proceeds from the rhyming picture book to help flood-affected farmers. You can buy a copy in various formats at hollytheholstein.com.
Dairy processor goes carbon positive
Also in dairy, Queensland’s Maleny Dairies has become Australia’s first carbon-positive dairy processor. This was achieved by buying carbon offset credits to overcompensate for the 2361 tonnes of carbon emissions it produces each year. The family-owned business made the decision to undertake the expensive exercise after they discovered that many consumers are avoiding dairy because of the methane emissions produced by cows.
Choice Shonky Awards
Consumer advocate Choice has announced the recipients of the annual Choice Shonky Awards, which recognise the worst products and services the group has come across in the past year. This year’s winners include Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles. These “shonky sugar bombs” contains more sugar than Allen’s lolly snakes and retail at $150 a kilo. The Breville Foodcycler also won a Shonky. Choice found the “$2000 compost bin” to be bulky, expensive, complicated and noisy. And because the product needs you to regularly replace parts, it contributes to landfill rather than helping to reduce waste.
Product of the Year winners
In more positive food news, the 2022 Product of the Year winners have been revealed. More than 5000 shoppers cast votes for their favourite supermarket and everyday products. And with people stuck in their homes more than ever, consumers appear to be favouring brands that offer convenience. Many of the award-winning products fell into the ready-made food category. Twelve out of 37 winners were easy snacks, ready-to-eat products or frozen meals. For a full list of winners, head to productoftheyear.com.au.
Aussie chef misses out on world comp
The San Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Grand Finale 2021 competition was held in Milan last week. Melbourne’s Jose Lorenzo Morales, Chef de Partie at Omnia, was due to compete but was unable to attend due to COVID. The young chef was disappointed to miss out, but he still featured in a live stream of the event, which showed Morales cooking his signature dish. The dish is a combination of roasted lechón pork belly, shrimp bogoong paste, pandan rice cracker, latik caramel and tamarind powder. Filipino Australian Morales says the creation was designed to show “strength through unity of all cultures”.
Also making food news this week…
This week we kicked things off by showing you how to kickstart your summer health goals. We also marked World Vegan Month by checking out the top vegan products to try in 2021. But because we all have our weaknesses, we also succumbed to cheese. So we shared a chef’s top tips for cooking with all that’s creamy and dreamy. Speaking of creamy, we also got the scoop on Bodalla Dairy ice cream, a family business that thrived during lockdown. And on the food supply front, we profiled Australia’s leading food traceability providers.
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