The latest in local Aussie food news
The world is once again returning to “normal”, which means foodie events are back on the agenda. This week, we bring you news of two epic Aussie food events that’ll have you drooling in anticipation. It’s also been a good week for mangoes and cherries, while the humble spud gets its moment in the spotlight. Also making local Aussie food news this week, NSW oyster farmers team up with the cops, Australia’s best healthy meal delivery service is revealed, and how you can win a grand, just by eating chocolate pudding.
Aussie potatoes mashing records
New data from Hort Innovation’s Horticulture Statistics Handbook shows Australians are producing and consuming more potatoes than ever. Hort Innovation Head of Data and Insights Adam Briggs says the rise correlates with Aussies buying more spuds when they visit retailers. Their use in foodservice has also climbed year-on-year. “The humble spud has become a bit of a vegetable superstar,” he says. “From the year ending June 2020 to the year ending June 2021, the value of potatoes climbed by $90.9M. The tonnes produced rose by five percent.” The data also shows that 87 percent of Australian households purchased potatoes, buying an average of 1.7kg per shop.
Aussie mango grower secures US deal
The federal government’s Agribusiness Expansion Initiative has helped one of Australia’s largest mango growers secure a new deal to export more produce to the US. A deal between Northern Australia grower Manbulloo Ltd and retail giant Walmart’s Sam’s Club will mean Aussie mangoes will be available in greater numbers and more locations in the US than ever before. This will support local jobs and business growth. Manbulloo has remained resilient despite the challenges presented by COVID. It’s doubled the number of mangoes exported to the US every year for the past five years, despite the pandemic.
Tassie cherries finish on top
The last of Tasmania’s cherries are currently being picked and sent to market. Some 4000 people participated in the cherry harvest. Around $70 million worth of cherries were picked, graded and packed in seven weeks. Peter Cornish, CEO of Fruit Growers Tasmania, says customers from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America value the distinctive, consistent quality of Tasmanian-grown cherries. “Last season, more than 175 million cherries were exported around the world,” he says. “Despite challenges including COVID-19 and air freight capacity restrictions, we’re on track to achieve a similar outcome this year.”
Oyster farmers team up with cops
NSW oyster farmers have partnered with NSW Police to tackle a major problem for growers. Black market oysters – stolen from farmers and sold without food safety controls – are the target of the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team. NSW Farmers Oyster Committee Chair Todd Graham says theft is a significant problem for growers. However, the community needs to be aware, too. “We put in a lot of time, money and effort to grow top-notch oysters for people to enjoy,” he says. “It’s tough to find your baskets have been stolen. There are strict controls on food safety with oysters. You can be sure when you buy from a reputable seller, they’re safe to eat. That’s not the case with the black market.”
“Lifestyle” wines to deliver hundreds of SA jobs
Low and no-alcohol wines could bring more than 500 jobs and add $64 million a year to South Australia’s economy. This is thanks to a $5 million state government investment to turbocharge the sector locally. It will support the state’s wine grape sector, which has been hard hit by the decline in Chinese trade and the pandemic. The investment will help to develop new “lifestyle” no or low-alcohol wines for both new and traditional wine drinkers. These wines are becoming increasingly popular. So it makes sense that Australia’s wine state should be at the forefront of new product developments.
Scenic Rim Farm Gate Trail opens
On Sunday, March 6, 22 farms and producers from across the Scenic Rim are opening their gates and welcoming visitors for the Scenic Rim Farm Gate Trail. Try fresh produce from the Scenic Rim Farm Shop, cuddle with lambs at Towri Sheep Cheeses, picnic with alpacas at Mountview Alpaca Farm or stock up on artisan dairy products at Tommerup’s Dairy Farm. This community initiative, driven by Destination Scenic Rim, will celebrate Queensland agriculture and the best of Aussie food, give visitors a chance to meet and support local farmers and is the perfect day trip or weekend away. The Scenic Rim is just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. For more, head to destinationscenicrim.com.
Le Dîner en Blanc returns to Sydney
Sydney’s chicest celebration of food, friends and fine wine, Le Dîner en Blanc, is just a few short weeks away, taking place on Saturday, March 19 at a new secret location. An elegant and exclusive affair, Le Dîner en Blanc has become the social gathering of the year for Sydneysiders. Each year, the event is staged in a new secret location. Past events have been staged at iconic sites such as Bondi Beach, Centennial Parklands and the Sydney Opera House forecourt. This year, the number of participants will be limited. So you need to get in quick to secure your spot. To be part of this amazing, COVID-safe night under the stars, you can sign up now at register.dinerenblanc.com/sydney.
Providoor launches in Brisbane
Restaurant delivery service Providoor has launched in Brisbane. Providoor provides meals prepared by restaurant chefs for home delivery, where the customer adds the finishing touches. The service will launch in partnership with restaurants including Siffredi’s, Evita, La Costa, NOTA, La Valle, NAÏM, Southside and Brisbane Phoenix. Customers in northern NSW will also be able to order from Brisbane restaurants, with delivery to Byron Bay and Tweed Heads. Queensland delivery areas include Brisbane Metro, Gold Coast, Noosa, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba. To celebrate the launch, Providoor is giving customers the chance to win 12 dinners. To enter, head to brisbane.providoor.com.au.
Australia’s best healthy meal delivery service
Lite n’ Easy is Australia’s best healthy meal delivery service, beating HelloFresh, Youfoodz, Dinnerly and Marley Spoon on the freshness of its meals and value for money. That’s according to Canstar Blue’s new consumer survey, which asked almost 700 Australians who’d used a healthy meal delivery service in the past six months to rate the service on eight key purchasing factors: taste and quality of ingredients; freshness; value for money; customer service; ease of ordering; delivery; variety of meals; and overall satisfaction. It was a repeat win for Lite n’ Easy, as more consumers turned to healthy meal delivery services as an alternative to visiting the supermarket during the pandemic.
Join the Test Your Tastebuds challenge
Australian plant-based snack brand Fancy Plants has launched Test Your Tastebuds. It’s a national challenge that asks: can plant-based taste as good as dairy? And you can win $1000 and a year’s supply of Fancy Plants if you participate. Simply buy a dairy chocolate pudding and Fancy Plants’ Silky Pot. Then blindfold your dairy-loving friends and get them to taste the two puddings to see if they can spot the dairy option and pick the pudding they think tastes best. Upload a selfie with Fancy Plants’ plant moustache Instagram filter, tag @fancyplants_au and hashtags #imwithfancy and #fancierthandairy to your Instagram feed. To find the filter, go to @fancyplants_au via your phone. Go to the three stars (next to videos), click on the “Fancy Mo” post and click on the “Try it” icon on the bottom left.
Also in Aussie food news this week…
We kicked off the week with Valentine’s Day, so to help ramp up the romance, we shared the best foods to get you in the mood for luuuurrrve. For those who love nothing more than a good piece of meat, we also shared expert tips on how to grill the perfect steak. On the farming front, we took a look at the viability of commercial urban agriculture in Australia. Plus, we profiled Wholesome Market, a purpose-driven business that’s getting nutritious food into more Australian homes. Finally, we fired up the birthday candles to say congrats to four farmers’ markets celebrating milestone birthdays this February.
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