The latest in Australian food news
Do you love your local farmers’ market? Of course you do! This year, the public gets the chance to nominate their favourite farmers’ market for a delicious. Produce Award. You can find out more details below. Also in Australian food this week, northern Australia’s oyster industry gets a boost and Goulburn Valley fruit growers call for consumer support. Plus, Grill’d goes green, and a NSW charity is giving you the chance to say “thanks” to our frontline healthcare workers while also supporting small business this Valentine’s Day.
New hort training program to launch
A fresh produce wholesaler and a retailer have teamed up to create a new business and training program to address the issues created by horticulture labour shortages. David Zahlan, Director of Alexanders Fruit Market, and Thomas Panna from Mattina Fresh are launching National Farming Education Australia. The program will ensure workers are fully trained before arriving on-farm, providing farm safety and better productivity for farmers. All growers in the Cobram District Growers Association will soon have access to the program. There are also plans to roll it out nationally to fresh produce businesses.
An apple (and pear) a day
Speaking of labour shortages, Goulburn Valley apple and pear growers are now in peak harvest season. A continued shortage of workers combined with COVID testing regulations and a wet summer have all made this season one of the toughest yet. Difficulties accessing export markets have also created an increase in domestic supply, which has led to a drop in prices. Speaking to the ABC, grower Rien Silverstein from Orrvale in Victoria said there’s one simple way consumers can show their support: eat an apple and a pear a day.
A boost for our oyster farmers
The blacklip rock oyster has been added to the Australian fish names database. This provides a boost for northern Australia’s fledgling tropical rock oyster industry. In the Northern Territory, a record number of more than one million blacklip rock oysters have already been produced in the first half of this season. In Queensland, scientists at the Bribie Island Research Centre have, for the first time, successfully produced and settled 500,000 blacklip oysters. This could allow the industry to expand beyond the southeast corner of the state. Currently, all but one of Queensland’s oyster farmers rely on production of the Sydney rock oyster, which can be farmed in just 15 percent of Queensland’s coastline.
Nominate a farmers’ market
Throughout COVID, our farmers’ markets have demonstrated the vital role they play in Australian food security, proving themselves to be a sustainable and reliable link in our food supply chain. And now, for the first time, delicious. is giving consumers the chance to make a nomination in the Outstanding Farmers’ Market category of the delicious. Produce Awards. The award celebrates a vibrant, community-focused farmers’ market that displays “true authenticity”. This means a predominantly fresh food market that offers a supportive environment which allows farmers and food producers to sell farm-origin and value-added specialty foods direct to consumers. To make your nomination, head to delicious.com.au
Show healthcare workers some love this V-Day
Feed Our Medics has been providing nutritious meals and support to frontline healthcare workers in NSW hospitals for two years. On Valentine’s Day, they want to help struggling cafes by paying them to serve nurses, doctors and hospital cleaners a free coffee. The cafes will get much-needed income, the public gets a practical way to say thank you and our exhausted healthcare workers get a bit of a morale boost. To contribute to “Say Thanks Free Coffee Day”, just donate $5 or more to Feed Our Medics, and they’ll do the rest.
Blooming green and gold
This Valentine’s Day, the Australian Made campaign is urging Aussies to share the love with local farmers by buying Australian-grown bouquets. Compared to imported flowers, Aussie-grown flowers travel a relatively short distance from farm to florist. This means your blooms will last longer. Purchasing locally grown flowers also supports local business, local growers and the communities they live in. You can find a bunch of Australian-made, Australian-grown products at australianmade.com.au. Or look for the green and gold kangaroo logo.
Crisis in aged care nutrition
Dietitians Australia is urging the aged care sector to add food and nutrition to its priorities during the COVID crisis. COVID symptoms are more severe in malnourished elderly people, but Australian food supply and staffing shortages have resulted in inadequate or even missed meals in aged care facilities. According to Dietitians Australia CEO Robert Hunt, Australia currently spends $10 a day feeding prisoners and only $6 a day feeding our elderly.
Supporting our rainbow community
Skittles Australia has released limited-edition colourless Pride Packs in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. The brand has also announced a partnership with Minus18, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people. The new Pride Packs also link to the “World’s Biggest Rainbow” via a QR code. This provides educational resources directly from Minus18 that aim to unite all peoples under one rainbow. Pride Packs will be available at major retailers nationally while stocks last.
Top chefs team up with Sheraton
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is launching an extravaganza of Australian food across three cities. Kicking off from February, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, Sheraton Melbourne Hotel and Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast, will be holding a series of innovative culinary events. The team at Sheraton has also brought together three of Australia’s top chefs. Manu Feildel, Adrian Richardson and Colin Fassnidge will oversee Sheraton chefs and add final touches. Bookings are now available for Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Grill’d goes green
Healthy burger brand Grill’d has transformed two restaurants into 100 percent plant-based venues. Grill’d Crown St Darlinghurst, NSW, and Grill’d Collingwood, VIC, will feature an entirely plant-based menu featuring 23 burgers. These include new Grill’d Impossible burgers and the Grill’d Fable Burger range. The chain is also bringing back its Meat-Free Mondays to encourage Aussies to go meat-free one day a week. As part of the Grill’d Relish program, members will have access to a free plant-based burger for every plant-based burger purchased on Mondays for a limited time. To sign up, head to grilld.com.au.
Also in Australian food news this week…
With Valentine’s Day coming up, we shared some ideas on how to show some love both to your Valentine and the planet. Not lucky in love this year? Usher in some good fortune with our recipe for Buddha’s Delight. As parents return to the daily task of school lunchbox packing, we shared tips for creating healthy school lunches. But not everyone is lucky enough to have a healthy lunch every day; demand for food relief continues to grow while charities struggle with supply chain issues. One way to fix Australian food supply issues is to localise our food production. So we profiled a NSW social enterprise doing just that.
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