Sourcing the sauce

To help spread the good word about our produce, I’ve listed a few of my farmgate favourites

AS perceptions grow around a ‘disconnect’ between consumers and their food's origin, so do the number of venues around Australia delivering experiences for customers very close to the farmgate.

Whilst many celebrity chefs use agriculture or the origins of food for a competitive advantage, the experience stops there. This is great messaging, but even better are those venues committed to ensuring you’re left in no doubts about what’s dished up and where it came from. They give an experience that reflects strong relationships with their suppliers and farmers.

So to help spread the good word about our produce, I’ve listed a few of my favourites that I’ve stumbled across in Sydney and Brisbane.

If you’re going to cook at home, and you’re in Sydney, Victor Churchill will see your jaw on the floor with a shop and experience that rivals a French clothing boutique.

Meats are labelled with what they are, where they’re from and who grew them. The product's presentation is almost a personal experience and you’re left feeling proud that you’ve bought a product from a farmer who also places pride in growing the best and supplying the extraordinary.

From freshly shaved prosciutto to prime cuts of beef or lamb, you can come in and see the butchers chop, slice and cut through some of the best meat available behind floor to ceiling glass next to a ‘moving cool room’ that rotates hanging product for display.

Moving north to Brisbane we’re staying with beef. Wine bar and grill Moo Moo features more than 15 cuts of beef, sourced from all over Australia. When you arrive you’re greeted by a large dim-lit glass case filled with a hanging ageing forequarter.

From grass-fed Angus in Tasmania to some off AACo’s best grain fattened Wagyu, the staff here can tell you the breed, days on feed, feedlot name, days aged, fat score and in some cases the farmer that produced it. I reckon some would even know the colour and number on the name tag. Apart from shavings of Wagyu in Japan, I had not eaten well cooked Wagyu steak before. So I went for it. The menu tells me Wagyu is a western term for Japanese bloodlines: wa=Japanese and gyu=cattle. News to me!

I chose the F1 Wagyu 300g Rump Cap with a marble score of 6-9. Grain fed for 360+ days at Goonoo Feedlot in the Darling Downs. All information off the menu. It was the most flavoursome beef I’ve ever eaten and it melted in my mouth making it perfect for infants and the elderly but not to wasted on any specific demographic but be enjoyed by all.

To finish, dessert is a must and you couldn’t go past Cowch. Sounds like a couch, but looks like a cow... and gives a whole new meaning to a ‘milk bar’.

It’s a comfortable place to lounge and relax but comes with large traces of milk. This cocktail and dessert bar located in the guts of Brisbane’s Southbank and leaves you in no doubt of where the white stuff comes from. You can select from 22 different yoghurts, mouth-watering alcoholic cocktails and smoothies (that are served in glass milk bottles) or lash out and create your own ice-cream on a stick.

It’s easy, choose a ‘naked pop’ and then dress it up with molten white, milk or dark chocolate then decorate with berries, chocolate pearls, shredded coconut, brownie, mini marshmallows or even raw seed mix. You can sit around a central fire pit under light fittings that resemble cows udders.

These are some great places that border on education whilst championing Australian produce. Along with some very strong, positive and transparent media attention these last 18 months in Australia, not forgetting all the countless TV shows, we’re starting to see some of the best and safest food in the world being revered and a little more understood by those that enjoy it.

Sam Trethewey

Sam Trethewey

grew up farming down south and now commentates on agriculture across Australia
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


26/08/2014 7:44:30 AM

All good stuff Sam. The only thing that concerns me is the way some people imply that it is possible or practical for all farmers to go down this path. A bit like me pointing to an urbane lawyer on $450/hr, and saying everyone who lives in the city could be earning that much.
Sam Trethewey
27/08/2014 6:27:29 AM

Of course, but there's plenty more areas to value add in the many markets available. It comes down to willingness and capacity. I wrote about "commodity thinking" last week. Besides, not all have to. But these distribution channels and farmers at farmers markets/value added farm businesses are doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to engaging with the end consumer. Win-win for everyone?!
27/08/2014 7:23:13 AM

As I said Sam all good stuff, and all business should keep a eye peeled for opportunities. However in the broad context of agricultural production this is micro stuff. For example, AA Co's grain feed Wagyu hasn't helped them avoid a $40 million loss in their core business. To often our macro policy makers use this micro marketing, as a distraction to the elephant in the room. Which is the chronic lack of profit in basic food production.
27/08/2014 9:09:54 AM

Sam the other approach maybe to put cooking back into the suburban kitchens. Perhaps a focus on modern house designers to make dining a centre of conversation around some healthy fresh veg and meat dishes. It would be a refreshing change from the marketing of cardboard takeaways for the masses. Fine dining out is limited to the minority who have liquidity. If the stew is cooked wouldn't need the premium Japanese cattle meat! Might solve Qlanders point and a lot more producers could participate. If we all went to the markets with the ute would be chaos supreme.
angry australian
27/08/2014 9:33:09 AM

One bloke does it Sam it's a niche, two and it's a commodity. Where businesses like those you've named have real value to the broader farming community is that it lets the population at large, which now seems to only believe in what they get off the internet, know that primary producers aren't all rapists and pillagers of resources like water and land or cruel exploiters of animals and their products. We have a very necessary job to feed our nation.
28/08/2014 6:44:19 AM

pepper: Chuckle - just had a vision of rocking up at a farmers market with a roadtrain full of heavy bullock! As I've said before AAcos Grainfed Waygu hasn't helped them with their $40 million loss. Sooner or later our macro policy makers are going to have to confront the reality of the chronic lack of profit in farming/food production
Get MuddyTo think clearly in farming and about farming, you need to get muddy - commit, roll up your sleeves and get involved. SAM TRETHEWEY gets stuck into some of the issues facing those on the land.


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