A food event featuring high profile interstate and international guests, Paul West and Liz Carlisle and Limestone Coast produce proved a sell-out last Saturday. “From Little Things Big Things Grow” was one of the main events of South Australia”s Tasting Australia festival. It started with an apple orchard walk at Kalangadoo Organic where Michelle and Chris McColl explained how they use mulching, chickens, ducks and geese in their integrated certified-organic horticultural system.
Paul West, host of Lifestyle TV’s runaway success, River Cottage Australia, told how he believed it was never too late to start appreciating fresh food. He’d never eaten fresh fruit straight from the tree until he was twenty-one but that led to him becoming a chef.
The River Cottage Australia series has followed his conversion to small-plot landholder. On a farm near Tilba in New South Wales, he has learned to grow his own fruit and vegetables, raise poultry for eggs and meat, keep a house cow, and appreciate all the locally-grown food and seafood on his doorstep.
Mount Gambier chef Kirby Shearing prepared a shared-table lunch at Bellwether Wines showcasing the quality and variety of Limestone Coast produce: lamb, lentils, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, yoghurt and labne, apples, potatoes, cheese and Bellwether wines. A keen forager, Kirby won special praise from the assembled food lovers with his soup made from wild nettles.
Liz Carlisle had travelled from the US where, in New York, her award-winning book, The Lentil Underground, has just been named one of the Top Twenty food books. The farmers at the event were particularly interested to hear from her how wheat growers in Montana, faced with depleted soils and erosion, had used legume cover crops and low-impact, organic farming methods to rejuvenate their land. The Montana farmers had found lentils were among the most effective nitrogen-fixing legume crops which in turn led them to harvesting and selling them. As a result, they now have a multi-million dollar food business called Timeless Seeds.
Liz Carlisle said the Limestone Coast day was “heartfelt and inspiring”. Tasting Australia’s Co-Creative Director, Simon Bryant, said it was “awesome” that the our region can stage such an amazing food experience.
Author : Dee Nolan