IT was all a "storm in a teacup" when Rylington Park's shearing shed near Boyup Brook, in WA's South West, was taken over by women recently.
Creative lampshades hung from the ceiling and the raised board, normally the province of sweating trainee shearers and trembling sheep, was adorned with beautiful quilts and kitchen implements. It was all part of this year's What's Cooking? theme for the fifth annual Rylington Park women's day.
With the title Storm in a Teacup, the day was jointly presented by the 600 hectare farm that doubles as an agriculture institute and training centre, and Boyup Brook Co-operative.
More than 160 women and a handful of men enjoyed what event co-ordinator, Rylington Park's Erlanda Deas, described as a "wonderful day for women" and comprised the best Storm in a Teacup attendance yet.
Market stalls competed with a delicious morning tea, lunch and a range of guest speakers, including Bridgetown author Sarah Evans who admitted her children sometimes caught her giggling as she read her own work.
"If you can't enjoy what you write, what's the point of doing it?" she asked the audience.
Jennifer Warburton, Kojonup, outlined the 10-year journey developing her Lucinda's Everlastings business from a small seeds plot on the family farm to an intensively cultivated five hectares supplying florists and garden centres.
Janelle South talked about the support network Women in Farming Enterprises, known as WIFE, which was formed in 2009 out of discussions among women near Lake Varley, a tiny community on the eastern edge of the Wheatbelt.
Their model for sharing ideas and supporting each other in dealing with farm management challenges has spawned another six branches, including a similar group in Boyup Brook.
But the feature presenter of the day was undoubtedly WA Food Ambassador Don Hancey who turned up the heat on a gigantic pan and cooked kipfler potatoes, banana prawns, pork, apple and rock lobster.
He was helped by South West Institute of Technology student Mary Depiazzi and many audience members became appreciative taste testers.
Mr Hancey is passionate about WA produce and showcased some of the products displayed by stallholders in his cooking, including Dinninup Grove olive oil, SKK honey, The Fat Hippo chutney and the local product from Beulah Wines.
He also invited stallholders to tell the story behind their products.
The women's day ended with a auction raising $2000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA, with further funds donated from sales of Lucinda's Everlastings seeds packets.
Local artist Jacquie Broockmann created and donated a painting specifically for the auction.
Rhonda Parker also donated a cooking themed wall hanging and Glenda Osterlund created a glamorous fish mirror.