A dairy in the heart of Fitzroy
Ben Evans had worked in dairy factories since leaving school and had always dreamed of having a small factory of his own.
It started with hand-bottling milk at night when Ben’s wife, Bianca, finished work, with Ben delivering the bottles the following day. After four years, St David Dairy now bottles five days per week and sends out five delivery trucks each day.
What makes Fitzroy’s St David Dairy different from any other business is that it is reversing the industry trend for large-scale factories built in the outer suburbs or regional areas.
“We have a lot of local engagement and believe being right here in front of people reconnects them with the source and origins of their food,” said Ben.
The desire of chefs and businesses in Victoria to connect directly with the producer or manufacturer has also been beneficial, with the farm being just 100km from the factory door.
For St David Dairy, it’s all about leaving the products as close as possible to their natural state.
“We don’t thicken our cream with thickeners or gums, there are no stabilisers or additives in our yoghurt and our full cream milks are not standardised over the entire year, going to bottle exactly as it arrives from the farm.”
St David is also showing support for the local community, donating milk each week to soup kitchens including St Mary’s House of Welcome, St Mark’s Fitzroy and Moira Kelly and family.
As a small business competing with large multinationals, winning an award at the Australian Food Awards provides a non-biased, industry-recognised accolade that St David can use to help level the playing field.
“What’s next for us? We hope to continue to improve our offerings and to keep working to give clarity in the areas of ethics and sustainability in the dairy industry,” said Ben.
St David Dairy products can be found at the shop window in Fitzroy, in Leo’s Fine Foods, Toscano’s, several IGA’s and various smaller grocers and specialty stores. These are all listed at http://stdavid.com.au/.
Swiss make the switch for Saluté
Marlies and Peter Eicher moved to Australia from Switzerland to learn English and work in the engineering industry in Melbourne, before making the switch and relocating to Boort in northwest Victoria to run an olive grove.
Saluté Oliva is a family-run business growing and producing certified organic extra virgin olive oil and table olives and has been commercially operating since 2007.
The business has expanded over the years to include other homemade products including olive oil soap and preserves made from fruit from the family’s orchard.
No matter what the product, nothing leaves the farm gate in Boort until it is ready for sale. Growing, producing, packaging, sales, marketing and distribution - it’s all managed on the property by the Eichers.
“Our business philosophy is to try to be the best in the industry and manage all aspects of the business in-house,” said Peter.
“We aim to connect with consumers through farmers markets, participation at the Royal Melbourne Show and farm tours, where we explain all aspects from growing to producing extra virgin olive oil and table olives.”
The Eichers believe there is a large part of the population in Melbourne that appreciates good, healthy, locally produced food, which helps to sell their products.
The proximity of their property to major regional cities and Melbourne is also beneficial in growing the business.
For Saluté Oliva, a medal win at the Australian Food Awards is recognition of their persistence in producing the best possible product.
“We are always proud to receive medals from the AFA as it helps
us to connect with consumers and gives additional credibility to our products,” said Marlies.
Saluté Oliva products can be found in selected retailers and specialty shops in Melbourne and surrounds, but the easiest way to buy is to visit the website www.saluteoliva.com.au or stop by and take a farm tour.
Gold Garlic Bulbs for the Bubbs
Four years ago, the Bubb family of Carroway started off with just 40 individual garlic bulbs. 2017 will see 6,000 bulbs planted on the family farm in Carron, North-West Victoria.
On a determined quest to grow fresh, seasonal, chemical-free produce and after much trial and error, Narelle Bubb discovered that garlic thrives in shivery winters and blazing summers for which their region is renowned.
“We chose to grow garlic, not only because it successfully grows in our soils but to meet a need to provide an alternative for the poor quality, imported garlic that was previously available,” said Narelle.
It's a family affair from March to April, when the Bubbs – Chris, Narelle, Rhys, Natalya and Jonte, work together to form raised beds, cover with weed matting, fix drip-tape irrigation in place and hand plant each individual clove. After seven months in the ground, the beautiful, bulging garlic bulbs are hand-harvested in late November to December and naturally cured for at least four weeks.
As a member of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, Carroway is excited to be able to promote and provide home-grown Aussie garlic, which is not only chemical-free, but also delicious. The Bubb family is keen to support a burgeoning industry, which currently produces less than 2% of the world’s garlic.
Carroway has successfully grown three soft-neck varieties including their gold medal-winning Printanor. Carroway were one of just two garlic producers to take home a gold medal in the 2017 Australian Food Awards.
“This year we entered the Australian Food Awards for the first time to see what expert judges thought about our garlic. We are still in shock that our Printanor received a gold medal!” said Narelle.
“We hope that more and more people will have the opportunity to enjoy our yummy garlic.”
Carroway garlic is currently available for purchase directly from the farm (51 McConvilles Road, Carron VIC), or locally at IGA supermarkets in Donald and St Arnaud and Donald’s Family Butcher in the Wimmera Mallee, Victoria. You can also purchase it online through Farmhouse Direct.
Ham from Lamb? How Silverwood changed the way we eat an Aussie favourite.
For the longest time, lamb lovers have had to enjoy their favourite meat as a classic roast or a loin chop, or on special occasions, a cutlet or shank.
But when Andrew and Maree King faced worsening drought on their Western Queensland sheep farm, it forced them to think differently. It was during this time that the couple, a fourth generation farmer and a former school teacher, revolutionised the traditional staple of family dinners to create LamHam.
Silverwood LamHam is just that – Ham made from lamb – a unique smoked product that boasts a velvety texture and aroma and a buttery flavour highlighted with a hint of fresh rosemary.
Cured and naturally wood smoked with beechwood chips and fresh rosemary, the meat- which comes in Black Label boneless and full bone leg, is also gluten free and halal-certified.
“There are other variations of ham on the market, like turkey or chicken, but not lamb so we have taken a unique approach to keep our family afloat by revolutionising the way we enjoy our lamb,” says Maree.
Winning a silver and bronze award in the 2016 Australian Food Awards for their boneless and bone Lamham, the Kings say they are committed to providing the highest standard of product to customers.
“Our LamHam is made with love using all Australian grown lamb. We are extremely passionate and always maintain our team spirit."
But the deliciousness doesn’t stop there with Silverwood Fine Foods also offering their Black Label Lamb Bacon.
Silverwood have been delivering lamb to families and businesses throughout Queensland for a number of years, with the LamHam available for online purchase and delivery in some areas of the Sunshine state, but with a growing number of stockists in Victoria as well, with all the details at their website lambham.com.
Our fave tip from Silverwood? If you grab a full bone leg, the leftover bones make a rich and unique LamHam and pea soup – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
How Caramelicious turned a passion into a successful business
When French-born jockey Remi Tremsal moved to Australia in 2003 to further his career, little did he know a back injury eight years later would lead to the realisation of a second dream- creating award-winning artisanal caramel business, Caramelicious.
Turning to his passion of cooking during recovery, Remi’s indulgence has become today a burgeoning international business.
With a commitment to producing caramel through the traditional French method in copper bowls and using a family recipe passed down three generations, Remi and wife Breena create soft, buttery rich gourmet caramel, resulting in two Gold Medals in the recent Australian Food Awards.
“Winning a medal is an acknowledgement of our hard work at producing quality,” says Remi, “We enter our products every year for this competition. It is a chance to celebrate the efforts of our team- this will boost our team enthusiasm!”
Awarded the golds for their Salted Caramel and Vanilla Caramel spreads in 2016, the four-year-old business also celebrated medal wins in 2014 and 2015.
With no preservatives, colourings or additives, Caramelicious’ hand-made caramels are made in small batches, recreating the spirit of traditional salted caramel, with their offering also boasting Vanilla, Coffee, Cocoa and Cocoa Hazelnut flavours.
Already popular with Australian customers, and meeting new international audiences through markets and food festivals in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Dubai and Bahrain, the Caramelicious team says they are looking to expand their range to offer greater variety and tailor products to meet the specific demands of professional chefs and bakers.
In three years, Kehoe’s Kitchen has developed from blog, to local market stall, to Australia’s first certified organic vegetable fermenter, to supplier to retailers nationwide and winner of three gold medals – and a silver, at the 2016 Australian Food Awards (AFA).
Run by husband and wife team Katrina and Brenden Kehoe, Kehoe’s Kitchen started out as a food blog where Katrina shared Paleo/ GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) recipes that she made for her family, which quickly grew in popularity.
“At the time, information and recipes in relation to the GAPS diet were scarce, which in turn meant that many families were uncomfortable in starting such a diet, despite the many health benefits,” said Katrina, who entered the AFA for the first time this year.
Despite now being run from a larger, purpose-built facility and supplying Australia’s largest range of certified organic raw probiotic vegetable ferments, Kehoe’s Kitchen still maintains its original values.
“Our overriding philosophy is to produce probiotic foods that are of the highest standard. We buy the best ingredients and we don’t cut any corners.”
The Kehoe’s Kitchen range includes six flavours of Sauerkrauts, two flavours of Kimchi, a carrot ferment, a cauliflower-based mustard pickle ferment, four flavours of fermented probiotic vegan cashew ‘cheese’ dips and three flavours of sparkling probiotic drink.
The recipes are made using the best certified biodynamic and organic produce from local farmers, ensuring the produce is fresh which results in more nutrients and less food miles, whilst also supporting local growers.
“We produce seasonally and fully ferment every batch ensuring a more mature, more acidic ferment with more beneficial bacteria to support a healthy digestive system.”
“We use WILD fermentation for our vegetable ferments, which combined with our strict hygiene and quality assurance practices ensures a more diverse range of naturally selected beneficial bacteria in every jar.”
Taking home gold medals for their White Kimchi, Kale and Carrot Sauerkraut and Traditional Sauerkraut, and silver for their Beetroot and Ginger Sauerkraut, Katrina said the introduction of the fermented vegetable category to the AFA demonstrates that they are becoming a staple in the Australian diet.
“The White Kimchi is our newest flavour and has only been available for about a month now, so we are really thrilled to win Gold for it. We will always continue to evolve and improve our recipes and introduce new flavours.”
If you are looking to purchase a product from the Kehoe’s Kitchen range, they are available nationwide at independent retailers. Visit www.kehoeskitchen.com/stockists and enter your postcode for a list of your closest stores.
With a few new products hitting shelves in the warmer months, keep an eye out for the award-winning, nutritious and delicious Kehoe’s Kitchen.
Meet Dave Bonighton, Champion Australian Brewer from Mountain Goat
Meet Dave Bonighton, co-founder of Mountain Goat Beer, a micro-brewery in Richmond, Victoria. Dave has come a long way from humble beginnings of crafting beer in his backyard, to winning Champion Australia Brewer for Mountain Goat at The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).
Founded in 1997, Mountain Goat has been on the scene for a while now and has made quite a name for itself for its tasty, all natural ales. Find out Dave’s tips for aspiring brewers and thoughts on where the Goat is headed next on its Mountain climb.
1. You have been brewing for a number of years, starting out as a home brewer, what tips would you give to those wanting to try it out for themselves?
Don’t be afraid, there’s lots of room for more beer - just make sure your quality regime is bullet proof, and you know who your customers are.
2. What does winning the Champion Australian Beer at this year’s AIBA mean for you and the team?
It’s a bit overwhelming. We’re feeling it right down to the ground in here. It’s an honour and very humbling, but at the same time makes us want to get better and better.
3. Being a brewer seems like a dream job for many- what do you believe is the best part of your job and what are some of the challenges?
There’s an instant reward for your hard work, and it’s in your glass. The better you do your job, the better the reward - literally. That’s also the biggest challenge.
4. What’s next for Mountain Goat?
More barrel aging I think!
5. What meal would you match to the award winner- Barley Wine-Rare Breed?
It’s great with a cheese board at the end of a meal. Definitely shared.
6. Finally, heading into winter, what sort of beers would you recommend people try this season?
Drink something dark and rich for the colder months, especially here in Melbourne. Drink with the food you eat and the company you keep. We’ve got an Imperial Stout coming out shortly, so maybe start there!
Back to basics with Australian Food Awards medal-winners Pangkarra Foods
For five generations, the Maitland family has grown quality cereals and legumes on their farm in Clare Valley, South Australia, producing fine food products including premium wholegrain dry pasta, wholegrain flour and wholegrain chickpeas and beans.
“Pangkarra products are grown using sustainable farming methods incorporating organic fertilisers,” said Katherine Maitland, who alongside her husband Jim, runs the business.
“Our intention is to go back to basics, the traditional way, and give consumers a premium, healthy Australian offering.” As the only producers of 100% wholegrain pasta, flour and lavosh in the country, Pangkarra products are both premium and healthy.
“Wholegrain foods are the way of the future, they help with weight control, can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and are a natural source of vitamins.”
For Katherine and Jim, a medal win at the Australian Food Awards gives their products and the efforts and dedication that go into producing them recognition on a larger scale.
“Winning this award has given us great encouragement and reinforcement to continue producing a premium paddock to plate product which is healthy, delicious and sustainable.”
Pangkarra products are available nationally in leading supermarkets, IGAs, gourmet shops and more. The products are also available for purchase at the Pangkarra Foods website.
Digging, dogs and decades of dedication - Terra Preta Truffles awarded Australian Product of the Year
Winners of Champion Australian Produce and Champion Australian Fresh Produce, Terra Preta Truffles is a family-run business, and that family extends further than Kate, Peter, Keith, Rita and Gus Marshall. The dogs – Sal, Shadow, Buffy, Aldo and Little Bill, the trees, the soil and the chef are all family too.
Located in Braidwood, NSW, the Marshalls have been restoring degraded landscapes and planting forests for three decades and have studied extensively the ecological requirements of the fungi family.
“Our operation has restored hundreds of hectares of forest and wetland, captured tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon and filtered millions of tonnes of water,” said Peter Marshall.
“It was a pleasure to discover fungi which were good for trees and soil, as well as being sought after by discerning chefs.”
Discovering the aromatic fungus can be tricky though, and requires the keen sense of smell from the Marshall’s brood of dogs, to search for the truffles.
For Terra Preta Truffles, winning Champion Australian Produce and Champion Australian Fresh Produce at the 2016 Australian Food Awards confirms that they are definitely on the right track and the business will continue to grow.
“Our overseas customers want far more AAA truffle than we currently produce, so we plan to plant more healthy forests and culture more truffles to keep up with the demand.”
You can purchase multi-award-winning Terra Preta Truffles from Epic Markets Canberra and Madame Truffle in Melbourne and Sydney or for trade and export from CEO Group Sydney and Friend and Burrell Melbourne.