Not every farmer wants the general public showing up at their door asking to buy fresh produce directly from them; they’re usually kept pretty busy raising
kids, feeding animals, tending crops, dealing with endless dramas involving climatic conditions or pests, while keeping the bank and all of the people
they supply, happy.
Occasionally however, a producer here in the region, (possibly in a moment of madness), decides they need more to do, opens up their farm and welcomes
people in so they can see just what’s involved in this often thankless industry.
More than just another revenue stream, a farm gate set up is an educational experience for visitors both young and old, and an opportunity for the producer
to show off their passion, tell their story, and enjoy a direct connection with consumers.
These are just a few of the wonderfully hospitable people who have “opened the gate” in the region.
Since opening up their strawberry farm in Goomboorian for a ‘pick your own’ experience a few years ago, thirdgeneration strawberry farmer Jason and his
wife Kim Lewis have been inundated with carloads of excited food lovers every weekend wanting to gorge themselves on berries picked straight from the
bushes. Since then they have added a café and store which seems to get bigger every time I visit, and despite the fact that strawberry season ended
two months ago, hundreds of people still flock to the farm each week to drink strawberry cider, eat strawberry inspired desserts and ice-creams, and
just enjoy relaxing in a beautiful setting.
On Sunday afternoons, "Paella in the Paddock" sees Jason get out his big paella pans and cook up a feast while live music plays in the background. The
shop stocks lots of local products as well as Kim’s legendary strawberry jam and coulis and some pretty decent Queensland wines that go very nicely
with the paella or anything off the café menu really.
Cooloola Berries is on Tagigan Road en route to Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay, so it’s a great place to stop in for a bite if you’re heading out for a
day trip that way. www.cooloolaberries.com.au
Most people would know Shambhala from the big vibrant fruit and vegetable stall they have at the Noosa and Kawana Farmers’ Markets each week.
Craig Hubbard and partner Chrissy sell whatever they can grow on their 10-acre farm in Doonan, but also act as a ‘food hub’ for other local producers in
the area. Each week they deliver pre-ordered farm boxes to homes all over the coast from Caloundra to Noosa, full of not just the freshest seasonal
veg, they can also provision you with local breads, dairy, eggs and beverages.
The couple’s life philosophy extends beyond just growing and eating good food, they have recently built a huge pavilion on the farm where they hold yoga
classes, and in the near future plan on holding events which incorporate all aspects of good health. www.shambhalafarm.com.au
Noosa Reds Tomatoes has become a household name and very recognisable brand not just in the Noosa region, but all over Brisbane where they sell their bright
array of flavoursome vine ripened tomatoes at farmers markets all over the city.
The farm in Doonan has had a few owners over the years, but Peter and Dory have taken it to a whole new level, supplying all of the best restaurants and
discerning locals with a rainbow of cherry, roma and large red tomatoes every week.
You can drop in and pick up tomatoes straight from the farm from Monday to Saturday; pre-order and pick up from one of the eight markets they attend; or
try your luck on the day and hope there’s some still left when you get there.
The process of growing these tomatoes is labour intensive and a real art form, and a walk through the shade houses is a fascinating and magical experience.
BLACK ANT GOURMET/ MAYAN FARM/KIN KIN GENERAL STORE
Jodie Williams must have just given up on sleep I think.
If she’s not busy looking after the farm, making her product range, running the Kin Kin general store, being the post master, making ready-made take home
meals or training horses, you’ll run into her all over the coast catering for various events.
Luckily she has her partner Brett and daughter Tahlia by her side helping to take some of the load. The family’s ‘Mayan Farm’ produces chickens, ducks,
pork and beef which Jodie uses in her catering business and to make beautiful homemade dishes which she sells through the general store in the main
street of Kin Kin. Her pies are legendary. The store also stocks plenty of other local peoples' wares and every Friday night at the shop is pizza night.
While not a farm gate as such, Jodie’s multi-faceted businesses offer a gateway to her farm and other local farms through the use of local produce in her
catering business; and the General Store is a one-stop-shop for a plethora of locallymade products.
All of the aforementioned producers have been recognised with the Slow Food Noosa Snail of Approval for their commitment to ‘good, clean and fair’ food.
To discover more local producers visit www.slowfoodnoosa.com or look for the sign of the snail.