FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD...Bundy Food Tours
Let’s face it we all love food, love to eat, love to photograph it, love to share it but when you have the chance to find out how the food got on your plate well that’s simply adding another pleasure to your palate. Last week I joined the delightful Suzie Clarke on one of her Bundy Food Tours. Having lived in Bargara for nearly five years I knew we had a lot of producers, but I never knew the farmer’s stories and that my friends is truly fascinating.
Did you know growing ginger is much like taking care of a child? Antony Rehbein of Bunda Ginga was our first stop of the morning, his absolute zeal and passion for perfecting the process of growing and nurturing his ginger was akin to the nurturing process we have for raising our own children. Each step of the process has been meticulously thought out to cultivate the perfect crop, from this crop Anthony and his wife Kate have developed an array of successful ginger products that have become renowned with the Bunda Ginga brand.
And passion could easily be the key word for the morning; Bruce and Carol from Prickle Patch Dragon Fruit Farm, have diversified their Canefarmers to grow Dragon Fruit. A rare sighting in the NT 30 years ago by Bruce, sparked a fascination for the fruit which has turned into an 11 year labour of love. The process of growing and ultimately getting the fruit to your hot little hands is labour intensive, every piece of fruit us handpicked, washed in Bruce’s own spa bath invention, checked again and packed before its shipped to its destination.
Off to our next stop, we meander through the back country of Bundaberg with fields a plenty of varying fruits and vegetables, things I should have known after 5 years of living here but our host Suzie shares snippets along the way about our farmers and their produce and we also discuss our own love of food and that sharing brings all the people on our tour back to many special childhood memories. At every stop Suzie has thought of everything, she is a generous host.
Morning tea we head to Bundy Surfie Chicks, a free-range egg producer. Toni is just a delight her girls (the chickens) are clearly her babies, and they really are free range, 180 chickens to 1.5 hectares. The industry standard and government definition is 10 000 chickens to 1 hectare certainly not my idea of free range! Toni sells her eggs every Wednesday from the farm gate and has secured a loyal following of local cafes and restaurants sourcing her girl’s eggs. After meeting the chickens it’s time for morning tea. OMG, made with love by the local Chef at Saskia, I would seriously book the tour just for the this! Suzie has set the table showcasing some of Bundaberg’s finest; Hummock sweet potato muffin with and Ocean Pacific local prawn, bundybundy limes in a guacamole and depaoli tomatoes, passionfruit kisses and a Bundy Limes tart.
We are not done yet back in the van and off to Windhum Farms, sweet potatoes farmers. The place is hive of activity; washing, sorting, packing the tonnes and tonnes of sweet potatoes that is exported all around Australia. It’s hard to believe our small town of Bundaberg is feeding so many families around Australia. Linda comes alive when she talks about sweet potatoes the variety, the farm, her family and her team.
As we make our way to our final stop, Alloway Farm Market the home of the Fig, it dawns upon me, about the connections we have made today, for five years I have travelled past many of these farms and wondered. What are they growing? Where does it go? Who is eating it? How do they grow it? But what I learnt was so much more and would encourage locals and visitors alike to get onboard a Bundy Food Tour.