The farm-to-table movement is demonstrating the true meaning of ‘homegrown’ by celebrating all things local. Through sourcing produce from regional growers, the trend in dining is providing patrons with the opportunity to celebrate all that surrounds them this Easter: family, friends and the places they love.
Easter is a great time to enjoy one other’s company. Amidst the chaos of modern day life, the Easter long weekend provides an opportunity to enjoy being uncommitted and unscheduled. Whether you are down the coast with friends, or road tripping with family, the value of connecting with loved ones at Easter is undeniable.
At the heart of it all lies good food. For many, Easter means a chocolate egg hunt around the backyard with their nearest and dearest, followed by roast lamb for lunch. Thus, in the spirit of celebrating with the ones we love, why not also celebrate the places we love? Easter indulgence provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the regions we call home with local produce. Through consuming food that comes from the regions that surround us, we are able to tell a story of heritage through provenance and taste.
In celebration of local produce, there is an increasing number of restaurants across Australia dedicating themselves to showcasing their region’s best. This development in dining has sparked the farm-to-table movement. Farm-to-table restaurants seasonally source their ingredients directly from their local growers. By minimising imported produce, farm-to-table restaurants are able to offer an extremely fresh, high-quality menu that champions the regions’ natural qualities. In doing so, they are also helping to improve economies in rural and regional Australia, developing a sustainable and self-reliant food network, whilst promoting relationships between the grower and consumer.
Farm-to-table pioneers Matt Dempsey and Graham Jefferies opened Geelong’s Tulip in 2013. The pair knows local better than anyone. You only have to read Tulip’s menu to understand that. In-house dishes are designed to hero local produce, with standout ingredients including pork from Raven’s Creek Farm, Kinsfolk farm vegetables and grass-fed beef from O’Connor Beef. Tulip even extends their celebration of community through charity, donating 100 meals a week to the Geelong Food Relief Centre.
Here is Graham Jefferies on the farm-to-table movement and Easter lunch this Sunday.
Tell us how developing relationships with local growers and producers has shaped the way you cook?
By knowing our suppliers and being friends with them, we are across the best of the best in the local area. At Tulip it’s not just about the best either; We want the closest and most sustainably sourced as well, and being in touch with the guys who do this makes creating our menu so much easier. We have farmers popping into our kitchen weekly with baskets of goodies for us to use… and it keeps us creative! As seasonal produce becomes available and a new ingredient shines, we create a dish that celebrates and honours that ingredient. That’s what it’s all about!
Easter is a time we celebrate with family and friends. How does this inspire you to celebrate your local region?
Sharing is always a big deal for us at Tulip, but more than sharing and connecting with our family, it’s a time when we can connect with others within our community.
Easter is a busy time at the Food Relief Centre where we volunteer to create meals each week for those in need in the Greater Geelong area. I am personally inspired to help those that need healthy warm meals at the end of the day and who worry about where the next meal will come from for their family. Giving families meals that help them share a happy moment over Easter brings a smile to my face.
What is going to be on your kitchen table for Easter lunch this year?
We’ll be sharing a roast pork from Ravens Creek Farm, a true free-range supplier. No doubt there will be some amazing local cheeses and can’t forget the local wine.
Must try local delicacy?
Port Arlington mussels. They are farmed in a sustainable manner and appear on our menu every now and again. Absolutely delicious.
The farm-to-table movement is working to positively to connect city and country through bringing a bit of countryside to diners. The unique dining experience is allowing restaurants and patrons alike to bridge the great divide that can often exist between city and country. As rural and regional communications specialists, it is exciting to see the food industry working toward making smaller producers and growers feel big while creating meaningful connections to different regions.