Scenic Rim farmers are the heroes of a new book by leading QLD chef Brenda Fawdon and writer Christine Sharp.
Brenda and Christine live on Tamborine Mountain in the Scenic Rim and are passionate consumers and supporters of local produce.
The coffee table book, EAT LOCAL – Food, Farming & Conversation in the Scenic Rim, will be officially unveiled on May 10 at the launch of 2016 Scenic Rim Eat Local Week.
The book is a collaboration between the Scenic Rim Regional Council and Brenda and Christine and features more than 60 everyday recipes, using local ingredients, inspired by the region’s farmers, growers and makers.
The book journeys through the diversely beautiful Scenic Rim region and documents the authors’ candid conversations with producers and their families.
“We have enjoyed this process; we’ve had creative licence to create the book,” says Brenda, a chef with more than three decades experience.
“It’s modern, it’s definitely not country kitchen, but it’s also conversational and a little bit artisan.”
Brenda and Christine say the process has given them a new appreciation for the work of farmers and for the paddock-to-plate journey.
“It’s definitely evolved,” says Christine, who is a published author, illustrator, editor and book designer.
“The biggest change along the way was that the producers’ voices came through much louder. We’re more focused on the producers than we had originally intended. This book is about the connection between a farmer and their produce.
“We’ve visited vegetable farms, a crayfish farm at Tarome, the Towri Sheep Cheese Farm and the cattle property, Nindooinbah. When we visited Young Farmers, we were in the paddock and a bull the size of a truck approached us. Brenda was in the background sweating but I enjoyed it.
“This book will be a food journey through the Scenic Rim. We hope it engages the reader to be curious about the region, to come here and visit and sample the produce.”
Mayor Greg Christensen says the Scenic Rim Regional Council has, for some time, wanted to produce a book to celebrate regional produce and farmers.
When Brenda sold her popular West End restaurant Mondo Organics in May 2015, the Council seized the opportunity to work with the pair to make the cookbook dream a reality.
The book, EAT LOCAL – Food, Farming & Conversation in the Scenic Rim, is being launched
ahead of Scenic Rim Eat Local Week, which runs from June 25 to July 3.
The book features Brenda’s recipes and Christine’s design and photographs as well as the stories of 26 Scenic Rim farmers. Brenda and Christine visited all 26 farmers to see their farms, and learn how they produce everything from milk to cheese to vegetables, beef, pork and olives.
Cr Christensen says the Scenic Rim’s history is entwined with agriculture, due to the volcanic soil that sustains a bounty of crops. He is proud the Council has helped create a book that celebrates the local farming stories.
“The food we eat in restaurants is celebrated, as are the chefs who create it,” says Cr Christensen.
“But often the producers who grow the raw ingredients are overlooked. This book is about shining a light on the people behind this region’s incredible array of produce and placing the Scenic Rim front and centre of people’s minds when they think about beautiful food destinations close to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”
Brenda and Christine hope their book will expose the local produce and producers to a broader audience.
“We want people to get in their cars and go for a drive,” explains Brenda.
“Go fishing at Moogerah Dam, try the cheese at Witches Chase, buy some sourdough from the artisan baker on Tamborine Mountain, use Matt’s heirloom tomatoes from Kalbar and try the local beef.
“We love living here. We love the air, the beauty, the landscape and the food. We have a very close relationship with Tamborine Mountain grower Di Brauer and visit her regularly to get our box of just-picked produce.
“We also shop at The Green Shed market on a Sunday. All of the local gardeners and growers come to the shed and sell whatever they have picked that day. We love going there of a Sunday morning.”
Chris says you can’t help but feel more connected to your food after spending quality time with the producers. She hopes that connection translates through the book.
“It gives you a better connection, more understanding and respect for the food you’re eating. A lot of these people know all there is to know about growing a carrot or milking a cow, but they may not have the time or know-how to market their produce – and it’s often seen as un-Australian to blow your own trumpet.
“Through this book we wanted to showcase the producers and showcase the food so people leave with a new-found appreciation. We hope the book will encourage people to experience the region for all it has to offer in terms of the wonderful produce and producers.”
To find stockists or to buy the book online click here