Wherever you go in Queensland, there’s almost always somewhere you can enjoy the paddock to plate experience, the grassroots experience of cutting out the middlemen and sourcing your fresh produce right from the farm gate. Not only will you experience the full flavours of this extremely fresh produce, unlike anything from the supermarket, but you will also be supporting local farming families.
Paddock to Plate in Queensland
Queensland is the home of fresh food in Australia due to its perfect climate and fertile soil. Just taking a local drive will really open your eyes to the plethora of fresh food available, an even bigger variety than available in the grocery store.
Experience fresh organic fruit, vegetables, meat and even lavender in the Lockyer Valley, otherwise known as ‘The Salad Bowl’ for having the most fertile soil in Australia. In Atherton and Bundaberg regions, you will experience the tastiest avocados ever. The Whitsundays is home to fresh fruit and wild caught seafood. Pineapples and strawberries, just to name a few, are plentiful on the Sunshine Coast as is wine on the Granite Belt.
The Scenic Rim is well known for its craft beer, wine and dairy (camel and goat’s milk included), the home of beef in Australia is Rockhampton and Ipswich has olives and limes! Although this is not an exhaustive list of what Queensland’s regions have to offer, it certainly gives you an idea of what fresh food you can source locally. It certainly pays to know your region and what’s available. Here’s how to do it.
Go on a day trip
It can be a real eye-opener to see what country lies only 20 minutes from your home which is why the paddock to plate experience is so much fun. Pick a day, jump in the car and drive into the country and buy ingredients for your dinner and lunch along the way. Expect to buy it at a little roadside store cart farmers often have set up or during days where the farm gate is open (there will usually be a sign). Remember: roadside carts are run by an honesty box system so don’t forget your loose change.
Attend a Farmers’ Market
A local farmers market is where you’ll get to know the farmers and produce available around your area. It may be that you come to the market to collect your produce or alternate between the market and taking a drive to the farm gate.
Experience a local ‘paddock to plate’ restaurant
It is excellent to see many chefs’ embracing the paddock to plate idea, supporting their local farmers by using their fresh produce in dishes. To have a mouth-watering paddock to plate experience, seek out a local restaurant that specialises in using fresh local produce.
Organise a winery tour
Forget Dan Murphy’s, make some driving arrangements and try some local wine at the cellar door. In wine regions like the Granite Belt and the Scenic Rim, you can book tours which will drive for you. Instead of that wine delivery from Dan Murphy’s, find a local wine you like and have it delivered. Enjoy with some local cheese!
Skip the supermarket milk
We really need to start backing our local farmers when buying milk. There are many regions in Queensland where independent farmers sell their milk including Scenic Rim Milk and Maleny Dairies. Consider supporting the locals before buying Coles or Woolworths branded milk, you can definitely taste the difference.
Buy your fruit, veg and meat from a local farmer
Paddock to plate is all about slow grocery shopping; driving to the farmer for your produce is less stressful, it’s more enjoyable, you know exactly where your produce is coming from, and you’re supporting a local, not a big conglomerate. If you find a drive out to the country a little too much, you’ll find that some farmers offer delivery for a small fee or they attend local farmer’s markets.
Paddock to plate? You little ripper!
Paddock to plate is a real adventure. It’s so easy to forget about the start and finish point of our produce when we buy it at Coles or Woolworths and put it in our trolley. Paddock to plate is about reconnecting with food, appreciating the quality of fresh produce and focusing on sustainability. Most importantly, buying locally helps the local economy.