Growers get to share their wheat efforts

14 Mar, 2015 12:00 AM
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p Hanamaru Noodle Company president Tetsuya Naruse (left) and Kalannie grower Bob Nixon prepare udon noodle dough using WA wheat at the Japan Festival on Saturday.
When growers were asked if they'd like to take part in the festival they were excited
p Hanamaru Noodle Company president Tetsuya Naruse (left) and Kalannie grower Bob Nixon prepare udon noodle dough using WA wheat at the Japan Festival on Saturday.

WA wheat was showcased in the form of handmade udon noodles at the Japan Festival in Forrest Place over the weekend.

A group of WA growers lent their hands to the noodle making process on Saturday with the assistance of Hanamaru Noodle Company president Tetsuya Naruse.

The fruits of their labour were handed out to festival goers who were treated to an afternoon of karate, flower arranging, Cosplay shows and Japanese cuisine.

WA Noodle wheat varieties are considered excellent for the production of premium Japanese udon noodles and are a sought after food item in Japan.

About 850,000 tonnes of WA wheat is exported to Japan each year for the manufacture of the iconic food, accounting for about 75 per cent of Australia's total wheat exports to Japan.

From 2008-2013 Japan was Australia's fourth largest importer of wheat in terms of volume and value.

Stall provider, Perth's Japanese Consul-General Koichi Funayama also assisted in serving traditional hand-made udon as a part of the opportunity to connect the wheat field and growers with the finished product.

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) chief executive officer David Fienberg said Australia worked closely with Japan's flour-milling and noodle-making sector to ensure new varieties continued to live up to the quality expected for udon production.

"Once every two years, AEGIC welcomes a representative of the Japan Flour Millers Association (JFMA) to our laboratories to carry out what is called a sensory test," Mr Feinberg said.

"A noodle sensory test assesses the suitability of noodles made from a blend of Australian Noodle wheats by measuring attributes like mouth feel; noodle firmness, noodle texture, texture retention and colour."

Mr Fienberg said the hot, dry growing environment of the WA wheatbelt was conducive to producing a wheat with the properties required by Japan's noodle makers including creamy, bright flour colour and excellent colour stability.

The participating grain growers, Bob Nixon, Kalannie, Colin de Grussa, Esperance and John Young, Calingiri, are members of the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA).

GIWA president and Quairading grain grower Sean Powell said the event was an opportunity to demonstrate to city-dwellers the important international role of WA wheat.

"When growers were asked if they'd like to take part in the festival they were excited to see the end-product of their crop," he said.

"Udon is increasingly becoming a food enjoyed by many Australians so it is with a certain satisfaction that as growers we can say our wheat is responsible for producing a product loved by so many."

FarmWeekly

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