Farmers, bite on in

In the case of farmers, it's probably not a bad idea that they consume what they grow

THERE is a fridge magnet motto that says: 'Never trust a skinny chef'.

Perhaps not a true reflection on the required physical make-up of a culinary master, but the point is that those in the industry need to practice what they preach.

They need to eat what they make.

In the case of farmers, it's probably not a bad idea that they consume what they grow.

Over the past three years marketing experts have continuously touted the need for farmers to be telling their stories, as diners and consumers become more conscious of where their food comes from.

Part of that storytelling process needs to be about explaining what the nut, or vegetable or herb or fruit actually tastes like.

Further on from that, it may be about suggesting how it is used. Never assume the grocery shopper knows what everything is.

Now, nobody is expecting growers to take up an apprenticeship at their local Italian restaurant or watch the complete series of Jamie's Kitchen, but a bit of knowledge about the product wouldn't hurt.

Years ago, a farmer would very rarely come in contact with their question-asking end user.

Those were days when the truck rolled into the farm gate, paperwork was signed off and they waited to hear from their markets agent about the price.

Those at the future's edge though will know word of mouth is still a powerful selling tool, be it face-to-face, over traditional media or across the new social networks that continue to expand.

A humble letter to the editor in the local paper letting people know about the wonderful produce coming out of their district could be read by thousands of eyeballs.

If every grower in the country did this, that'd be a lot of free advertising and encouragement for people to eat more.

Of course, the vast majority of growers already consume what they grow. Maybe it's time for some kitchen experimentation to see how it can be jazzed up or reworked?

Click a photo and put it on Facebook, and you've created a talking point (especially if the grower, still in dirt-stained work gear, is shown tucking into the new dish).

Producers are in effect salesman (and women) as well. They need to be prepared to talk about their product as if it is the best, greatest and latest product on the market, like consumers aren't fully enjoying their eating experience unless they have some of "whatever it is" on their plate.

Time to get to know what you grow, starting with your tastebuds.

GFV

Ashley Walmsley

is the editor of Good Fruit and Vegetables.
A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.

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