Local Aussie food news: July headlines

31st July 2022 | EATIVITY Editors
Australian food news

Making local Aussie food news this July…

Farmers and the government ramp up biosecurity measures to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from entering Australia, varroa mite continues to see more beehives destroyed in NSW, Australia’s olive harvest falls well below last year’s yield and Nambucca oyster farmers get washed down the river. A local Tassie cheesemaker wins a top gong at an international cheese show, Guy Grossi opens a new restaurant in Brisbane, and a sustainable plant-based cling wrap company raises funds to expand its operations.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats

From the farm gate

Biosecurity has been the hot topic of the month for Australia’s farmers and food producers, after foot-and-mouth disease made its way in to Bali. In response, the government has strengthened boarder activities and imposed new measures to help prevent it from entering Australia.

Agritourism operators in south-east Queensland’s Scenic Rim region have also taken measures to keep their livestock and farms safe by asking tourists to sign waivers or avoid visiting their properties all together. Experts believe that if the disease was to enter the country, billions would have to be spent on a national response with diseased cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats earmarked for culling.

Biosecurity threats, production costs, reduced plantings and labour shortages continue to push the prices of food higher for consumers. According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the cost of vegetables increased by 7.3 per cent and fruit by 3.7 per cent in the June 2022 quarter alone. Farmers are urging shoppers to keep paying high prices so that they can continue to operate.

Australia’s olive harvest is drawing to a close but is expected to be well down compared with last year’s bumper crop. Last year about 130,000 tonnes of olives were harvested, well up on this year’s forecast of about 85 to 90,000 tonnes.

Olives grow over summer, ripen in autumn, and are harvested between April and June

The Victorian beehives that were stranded in New South Wales due to the Varroa Mite bee travel ban have been permitted to return home. But there are major concerns about the state’s almond industry which is still facing a massive hive shortage.

The NSW Mid North Coast’s berry industry is also facing uncertainty after the discovery of varroa mite in the area, has seen more hives destroyed. The region grows around 80 per cent of the state’s berries, along with avocadoes and macadamias. Lack of hives could result in further consumer price hikes and job losses.

Also in local Aussie food news this month, weather events have smashed Nambucca River oyster farmers with only 8 businesses remaining. Recent floods and a sewage spill saw infrastructure and oysters wiped out. Forced closures along the estuary have also delayed clean up efforts.

Varroa mite has seen more hives destroyed

And the winner is…

Friends of Elgaar Farm has taken out a top gong at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, United Kingdom.

The trophy for Best Australian Cheese was awarded to Elgaar Farm’s “Normadie” cheese, a washed rind style that pays tribute to the cheeses first produced by monks in the heart of the Normandy region in France, but is crafted with Elgaar’s unique Tasmanian character. They were also awarded a silver medal for Scamorza Affumicata, a wood smoked stretched curd cheese.

It’s the number one cheese and dairy show in the world, attracting over 5,500 entries from more than 30 countries every year, including dozens from Australia’s best manufacturers.

Cape Restaurant located at RACV’s Cape Schanck Resort has won awards at the ‘2022 Vic & Tas Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence’.

Cape was a winner in the ‘Premium Dining’ category and was also awarded ‘Restaurant of the Year – Regional’.

Meantime, Guy Grossi, celebrated Italian chef known for Melbourne restaurants Grossi Florentino, Ombra and Arlechin, as well as Perth success, Garum, is sharing his love for the fresh and romantic cucina and culture of the Amalfi coast with new Brisbane restaurant.

Settimo, within The Westin Brisbane, located in the heart of the CBD will be a gathering place for lovers of authentic Italian flavours enjoyed with relaxed sophistication.

A natural wine bar with a strong focus on local produce is set to open in Byron Bay in October. Parisian-inspired Bar Heather will be dishing out a snack-heavy, wine-friendly menu that chef Ollie Wong-Hee (previously Ester, Sixpenny and Franklin) has developed from the best organic suppliers the Northern Rivers has to offer.

Great wrap for sustainability

It’s been a successful month-long campaign for Plastic-free July this year, but according to consumer research commissioned by BRITA, a quarter of Aussies say that convenience still outweighs attempts to be sustainable. The research suggests that because plastic products remain more accessible and cheaper than sustainable alternatives, it makes it difficult to cut out plastic completely.

The good news is, Great Wrap has raised $24 million dollars, providing a platform to fully commercialise its home compostable Cling Wrap, Catering Wrap and Pallet Wrap.

The funds have allowed the company, which makes compostable stretch wrap from food waste, to expand into a new facility in Melbourne with the capacity to manufacture 30,000 tonnes of compostable stretch wrap by the end of 2023. The new factory will see the pair become Australia’s largest stretch wrap manufacturer.

Great Wrap co-founders Jordy & Julia Kay

What’s on?

Also in local Aussie food news, much loved chef Julie Goodwin has been picked to headline flavour makers at this year’s Festival of Food and Wine at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. Goodwin will be hosting live cooking demonstrations on the 10th and 11th September showcasing a range of in-season produce from around the Toowoomba Region.

Grazing boxes with local produce will be available for Festival goers to pre order. They include Kenilworth Dairy, Woombye and Awassi cheeses, cold meats from Grantham, Coolbardie Olives, Kokopod Chocolate, nuts, homemade chilli jam and edible flowers. The event runs from 1st – 30th September.

After a three-year hiatus, Melbourne’s multicultural melting pot, Preston Market is welcoming back Italian Day on Sunday 28th August. From 11am – 3pm the northside market will transform into an Italian fiesta with free activities, cooking demonstrations, tastings, live entertainment, and Italian dishes from pop-up food stalls and regular Italian traders.

Adelaide Farmers’ Market has temporarily moved back to its old site to make room for the Royal Adelaide show. Throughout August, stall holders will now be setting up shop at Leader Street, Wayville between 8.30am – 12.30pm.


Also in local Aussie food this month

This month, as cold and flu season settled in EATIVITY looked into the health benefits of Australian citrus fruit which is in season over winter. We discovered what the red wax tip on bananas means and why consumers should look for it at the shops. We dived into the collective experience of local food co-ops as more consumers choose to seek out more ethical, sustainable food sources, and shared 4 recipes that are faster than takeaway. Finally we shone the spotlight on Long Paddock Cheese, a small-scale artisan organic cow’s milk cheese brand produced at and sold from its own purpose-built facility at The Mill Castlemaine.

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