Local Aussie food news: September highlights

1st October 2022 | Moira Geddes

Making local Aussie food news this September… Scenic Rim producers create the country’s first-ever hybrid cheese by joining forces and milks, a WA cheesemaker churns his waste into gin and vodka, analysts forecast a milk price increase and Australia’s mango season officially begins. Graziers pay record prices for stud bulls and meat sheep, restaurants and cafes prepare for county-of-origin labelling laws, Melbourne gets a new food app and food box delivery provider and food festival ramp up across the states.

EWE+3 is described as earthy and buttery with pear undertones and a touch of sharpness from the sheep’s milk.

From the farm gate

Australia’s first ever Sheep, Camel, Goat and Jersey milk cheese has officially been launched. EWE+3 is the result of a flood-inspired collaboration between Scenic Rim producers Towri Sheep Cheeses, Tommerup’s Dairy Farm, Summer Land Camels and Naughty Little Kids.

To create the nation’s first-ever hybrid cheese, the four producers literally pooled their milk resources. Carolyn Davidson, Towri Company Director, and Head Cheesemaker with over 17 years’ experience, then went to work. The outcome is a cooked natural rind cheese.

A cheese maker from Western Australia has come up with an innovative idea which could help struggling dairy farmers across the county. By fermenting whey from the curds produced during the cheese making process, Robert St Duke of Harvey Cheese is successfully making a liquor base similar to vodka and gin. Not only is it innovative, it could also become a more sustainable solution for the waste created from making cheese.

Analysts are forecasting milk prices to rise by 20 to 30 cents a litre in the coming months. The increase is being attributed to several factors including a 350-million litre fall in annual production. Wet weather, higher production costs and a decrease in the number of dairy farms are also contributing factors.

Also making local Aussie food news this September, graziers have been paying record breaking prices for prized livestock at the start of this year’s spring sales. Breaking the record for the Santa Gertrudis breed, Yarrawonga Cattle Company owner Andrew Bassingthwaighte has pocketed $250,000 for a single stud bull. An Australian white ram has also sold for $240,000 at a stud sale in Central New South Wales, setting a record for a meat sheep.

Fresh strawberry recipes can be found at qldstrawberries.com.au

In season this Spring

Queensland strawberry growers have finally had a break from the rain allowing them to produce a bounty of strawberries which are selling for as little as $2 a punnet across the country. To help move the harvest, industry group Queensland Strawberries has released a range of recipes to encourage consumers to snap the fruit up while it’s cheap.

While summer is still months away, one of Australia’s favourite fruits is about to hit shelves, with the official launch of Australian Mango season. Following a strong flowering pre-season, Aussies are expected to indulge in close to 180 million mangoes over the coming months. To mark the launch of the season, the annual Brisbane Produce Market Mango Auction has also taken place with a winning bid of $20,000. The funds raised will go to children’s cancer charity Redkite and The Lady Musgrave Trust for homeless women. 

Top chefs from Sydney restaurants are excited about the first-ever commercial crop of European white asparagus which has just sprouted on a small family farm near Brighton in southern Tasmania. Green asparagus typically grows from September to March with most of it produced in Victoria. White Asparagus has a much shorter harvest of only 4 weeks.

Australian mango season is officially underway following the annual mango tray auction

What’s new on the food front?

Also making local Aussie food news this September, Australian cafes and restaurants will soon be forced to display country of origin labels on their menus. The changes are part of the Albanese government’s new laws which look to address traceability and provenance issues among consumers. The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association says further red tape for the hospitality sector would only compound existing issues being faced due to covid. Country-of-origin labelling already applies to the retail sector.

Food waste startup Good & Fugly has made its eagerly awaited debut in Melbourne. The fresh produce delivery service is now serving up quirky but tasty seasonal fruit and veg boxes straight to consumers’ doors. With 25 per cent of all Australian produce not even leaving the farm, Good & Fugly launched its offering in Sydney in 2020 to help fight Australia’s food waste epidemic. With boxes and delivery being roughly 20% below the supermarkets, it’s an easy way to combat the rising cost of living while doing good for the planet.

For as little as $29, Melburnians can now join the fugly revolution

Melbourne-based ‘village grocer’, Leaf has opened an exciting new location this month, swinging open its doors to the busy High Street precinct in Armadale, Victoria. The inner Melbourne suburb will be home to the third Leaf grocer, which focusses heavily on supporting local producers, showcasing conventional and organic products sourced from Victorian growers, farmers and suppliers.

There’s also in-store experiences such as the Australian-first self-pour Schultz Organic Dairy ‘milk bar’ where customers can bring their own glass bottles to fill.

Dining app, Foodini, has also launched in Melbourne, matching people with dietary needs to menus. The app is designed to help those with all manner of dietary needs from coeliac disease to those who are lactose-intolerant; from vegans to FODMAPers and many more. Users have access to dietitian reviewed restaurants and menus giving an exact breakdown of what they can eat on each menu.

Foodini delivers dietitian reviewed menus, tailored to you

Food festivals return in numbers

Australia’s biggest cheese festival is due to take place in Adelaide from October 14th to 16th. There will be over 70 stall holders all celebrating Australian cheese, food and beverages. Director and Cheese Maker Kris Lloyd AM says that with a collection of cheesemakers from all over Australia, CheeseFest is the place to be if you love cheese.

Returning for the first time since 2019, Budburst is a once-a-year opportunity to come behind the vines and meet the family owned and small batch makers that shape mainland Australia’s coolest wine region. On October 9th and 10th more than 25 Macedon Ranges winemakers will open their wineries and cellar doors to wine enthusiasts between 10:00am and 5:00pm. And for all of the foodies, there will also be curated food menus championing local produce.

Le Dîner en Blanc is returning to Sydney on November 12th and Canberra on November 26th at two new secret locations. Past events have been staged at iconic locations in Sydney and Canberra such as Bondi Beach, Centennial Parklands, the Sydney Opera House forecourt, The National Arboretum Canberra and Reconciliation Place.

Sip and Savour is a new two-day festival in Albury, which will celebrate the very best of regional food, wine, beer, spirits and culture. Kate Miller-Heidke, Josh Pyke, Lisa Mitchell and Telenova will headline the inaugural “taste of the region” event supported by Destination NSW on February 4th and 5th 2023. Visitors can attend masterclasses and workshops from local artisans.

Flagship food event Parramatta Lanes is back from October 12th to 15th. Over four delicious days, Parramatta’s CBD will transform into a grazing board of culturally diverse sweet and savoury flavours, showcasing why Parramatta Lanes is the must-visit event for Sydney’s foodies. 

KOI Dessert Bar’s delightfully sweet creations

The 5th annual East Malvern Food & Wine Festival is due to return to East Malvern’s picturesque Central Park. Boasting a vast range of exquisite wineries from all across Victoria, artisan provedores and entertainment, the festival will take place on 20th  November, from 11am to 5pm.

North West Tasmania is set to host its inaugural Stanley & Tarkine Forage Festival, on November 11th-20th. This ten-day festival showcases the region’s world-class fare, providing an opportunity to journey on a tasting trail, dine on signature dishes and meet local makers. Supported by grant funding through Austrade’s Recovery for Regional Tourism program, the Festival activation allows for local makers and producers to showcase their best.

The far north west corner of Tasmania is a prime oyster locale

Good food news…

Also making local Aussie food news this September, Tefal Australia and celebrity chef Hoda Hannaway have joined forces for the latest #PlateForAMate campaign. Now in its third year, the focus of #PlateForAMate is on supporting the mental health of regional and rural communities, including farmers and people devastated by natural disasters. The campaign is brought to life short films featuring acclaimed chefs and Australian celebrities who love to cook. Viewers are urged to donate to the Black Dog Institute.

Pie Face has been awarded 19 medals as part of the 33rd Official Great Aussie Pie Competition with their newly launched Cheese and Bacon Roll taking out a gold medal. It’s the second year running that Pie Face has scooped awards for their pies and rolls. Founded in Bondi, in 2003, the business has grown to become an iconic brand and a market leader with 300 stores across every state in Australia.

Pepe Saya is set to make Guinness World Record history with Australia’s biggest butter churn at this year’s Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival.

Using Country Valley Dairy cream, the Artisan hand churned butter maker will gather the largest number of people together to churn butter together at one time on October 29th in the Olsson’s Salt Sessions marquee at the festival.

Also in local Aussie food this month…

In September EATIVITY revealed the easiest ways to get your five serves of vegies in without any fuss. We shared our guide on how to get your garden ready for Spring, and what to plant right now. We looked into the labelling of organic products during Australian Organic Awareness Month. We also shared some of the sweetest blueberry recipes ahead of the fruit’s peak season. And for those who love their kimchi, we profiles one of the local producers on the EATIVITY Local Food Directory, Kimchi Club.

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