Scenic Rim farmers and producers left the farm for a very local lunch on the Gold Coast last week.
The Eat Local lunch at the QT Gold Coast was a celebration of the producers who farm in the green paddocks behind the gold and was one of a handful of pre-Eat Local Week lunches organised by the Scenic Rim Council to shine a spotlight on regional produce.
The Scenic Rim takes in the fertile communities of Tamborine Mountain, Canungra, Beaudesert, Boonah and Kalbar and is a hub for fresh vegetables, beef, pork, dairy, olives, macadamias, wine, craft beer and other gourmet products.
QT Gold Coast Executive Chef Greg Benney is a keen supporter of locally-sourced produce and is connected with many Scenic Rim farmers, who supply his popular Bazaar Restaurant.
He says sourcing food close to his kitchen and in-season makes sense for many reasons.
“It’s healthier, tastier and good for the local economy,” he says.
The lunch menu was created by Greg, in collaboration with Tamborine Mountain chef Brenda Fawdon, who is behind a new EAT LOCAL book. She and co-author Christine Sharp visited 26 Scenic Rim farms to profile the producers and create recipes to highlight the local ingredients.
More than 20 Scenic Rim producers attended the lunch, which featured canapés served in the new QT rooftop garden.
The lunch was a precursor to Scenic Rim Eat Local Week which plates up from June 25 and features a delicious schedule of food and farming events.
The festival of food and showcases the bounty of fresh produce, wine, beer, milk and gourmet products that grow in the region’s fertile volcanic soil.
This year’s festival runs from June 25 to July 3 and features more than 55 individual events – from farm tours, to cheese and wine tastings, to cooking classes and exclusive producer dinners, curated by some of Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s leading chefs.
Eat Local Week culminates in a signature event, the Winter Harvest Festival, on July 2 at Aratula. On this day the region’s producers come to one location to sell their produce. The day features free kids rides and activities, a Tractor Pulling competition, live music and cooking demonstrations by leading chefs.
Scenic Rim Mayor, Cr Greg Christensen, says Eat Local Week has grown from humble beginnings to emerge as one of the State’s premier and authentic food events.
“The event was first established as a way of highlighting the broad range of produce that is grown in in the region, to encourage consumers to source their food and beverages close to home.
“The event has grown in both scale and popularity but our focus is still very much on retaining the authenticity. Visitors can connect with farmers and have a real farm experience.
“Bring your children and get muddy on a local farm, enroll them in a cooking class, take them on a bush tucker experience, or leave them at home and attend one of many incredible gourmet food experiences. This year the Eat Local Week schedule features new exciting producer lunches, catered by leading chefs.”
Eat Local Week Ambassador and QAGOMA Executive Chef, Josue Lopez, says regional cuisine is a profound concept which has the power to define a community.
“To create a truly regional cuisine using seasonal and locally-sourced produce was a profound revelation to me,” he says.
“I am passionate about showcasing fantastic Queensland produce and my dishes often feature Scenic Rim ingredients. Partnering with Eat Local Week is a wonderful opportunity for me to embrace the world-class produce from this beautiful, fertile region. It’s produce we should all be proud to serve and promote.”