Across the country, there are farmers, butchers, chefs and winemakers grabbing every opportunity to connect with food lovers and share their knowledge and produce. The food bowls – those regions producing fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and wine are now at the forefront of food tourism.
Queensland plays an enormous role in Australia’s daily diet as the number one vegie producer and the country’s second-largest fruit producer. Bundaberg Winterfeast is a grassroots (no pun intended) festival. With keen backing by Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism and ardent locals like Indulge Café’s Amanda and Larry Hinds the Festival looks to be even bigger in 2017.
In our first part on Bundaberg Winterfeast we introduced some of the tireless individuals from the region that are putting Bundy on the map as a ‘food’ destination. Here in our second part, we highlight growers, café owners, butchers and graziers and Bundaberg’s first cook’s tour.
Tina and Bruce McPherson worked and travelled extensively overseas with their young family before choosing to settle in the fertile fields that surround Bundaberg. They were attracted to the irresistible combination of Queensland lifestyle and the Coral Coast’s enviable ability to grow fruit and vegetables of superior quality out of season.
Tinaberries fruit is mostly sent to Sydney and Melbourne where the market craves the large, sweet mid-season Camarosa and the bright red early-season Festival. They also grow the sweetest passionfruit.
They are passionate about sustainable farming and companion plant marigolds with their berry plants as well as other natural biological pest controls.
Tinaberries is open during the strawberry season from June through to October to visitors and ‘Pick Your Own’ during August and September. And if you’re enjoying something sweet at Alowishus Delicious it’s more than likely Tinaberries will be on the plate.
Tracey and Michael McPhee weren’t always in the food business. But eventually, their love of their hometown and the lack of coffee after 2 pm led them to open their now popular café Alowishus Delicious in December 2011. Tracey had a “build it and they will come”, attitude and indeed they have been busy ever since.
As one of Bundy’s best brekkie spots you can go the full eggs benny with a choice of local Barritts leg ham smoked salmon or bacon. You can do the Breakfast Stack or go for a lighter option of house-made granola with fresh seasonal fruit or the perennial favourite the smashed avo on toast with good Greek feta.
Roll ‘n Banks Bar
Bundaberg now has a more sophisticated solution for drinks at any function – The Roll ‘n Banks Bar. This very pretty, bar in a revamped vintage caravan is the brainchild of Cortney Roll and Belinda Banks.
The pair subscribes to the old Weddings, Parties, Anything when it comes to the types of events they cater with menus from milkshakes to mocktails, bubbles to champagne. Their range of vintage crystal makes for a real statement at any party.
Tender Sprouted Meats
If you saw the recent ABC News story on Rob and Sarah Cook you will already know about this extraordinary couple behind Bundaberg’s only boutique butcher.
Despite a helicopter accident that left Rob, champion bull rider and cattleman a quadriplegic, the couple have continued raising cattle. Now they farm at Bucca near Bundaberg where they raise grass-fed Brangas who are fed a daily ration of hydroponically and organically grown sprouted barley.
The cattle are fed a sweet potato, molasses and sprouted barley mash that they say produce better healthier beef. The nutritional value of the meat is exceptional with less marbling and guaranteed tenderness.
Their Rosa Cattle Company beef is now sold online and through their Tender Sprouted Meats butcher shop in Bundaberg. The man behind the counter is Rob and Sarah’s business partner Shane Simpson.
Ed: Sadly, Tender Sprouted Meats closed in 2017.
Linda Vickers is another Bundaberg local who took the plunge and went for a real tree change. 700 Tahitian Lime trees to be exact.
Although the season is traditionally, November to July, Bundaberg’s ideal climate means the season is extended to most of the year.
Linda has diversified with a range of beauty and gourmet products all touched with that signature fresh lime zing. You can smell and see the lime zest and peel in the Bundy Limes with Murray River Salt and Pepper, Bundy Limes Sugar, Foot Scrub and Bath Bombs.
Bundaberg Cooks Tours
And if you’re not a local and want to learn more about Bundaberg’s amazing produce and the hard-working farmers and growers, Suzie Clarke will take you on an adventure you won’t soon forget.
TML was part of the inaugural Cooks Tour during Bundaberg Winterfeast 2016. Suzie now takes groups on tours to discover the vegies, fruits and meats of the region but most importantly the people. There isn’t much about Bundaberg food that Suzie (a school teacher by trade and now a Cordon Bleu graduate) can’t tell you. Have a question about preparation or cooking and Suzie has the answer.
Ed: Sadly, Cooks Tours is no longer operating.
In Bundaberg, you can use words like terroir and provenance to explain how food is bringing a renewed vigour to the region. It’s also the people. Their vision sees Bundaberg leading the way in Queensland to establish culinary tourism as one more reason to spend some time in the Sunshine State.
Bundaberg Winterfeast has evolved to become Taste Bundaberg
TML was a guest of Bundaberg North Burnett & Southern Great Barrier Reef Tourism.