After twenty years of promoting organic and biodynamic farming in Tasmania and arguing for the transition from bulk commodity markets to high value niche markets for our farmers, it was music to my ears to hear Kylie Kwong speaking in Hobart singing the praises of “fresh and flavoursome food that has been grown as nature intended”.
She especially highlighted the importance of valuing the farmers who put so much love and commitment into their farms, crops and animals arguing that “food choices should be ethical, sustainable and supportive of both the natural and human environment.”
It is obvious that Tasmanian farmers are getting a raw deal from the supermarkets and food processors. They end up working for nothing and burdened by debt in a state with fantastic natural advantages of fertile soils. It is obvious that we need to change to sustainable organic and biodynamic farming systems, target high quality niche markets and develop supply arrangements with the best restaurants around the world just as fisherman, Mark Eather and Tony Scherer from Frogmore vineyard have done. It is so good to see them recognised in Kylie Kwong’s new book.
I met Tony about fifteen years ago when he first came to Tasmania. He was enthusiastic about organic agriculture and tried to push it hard but was up against Ministers who were keen on taskforces and not much else. It is so good to see his fantastic vineyard recognised. I was there earlier this year when the Landcare Awards were launched at his place and his property was a celebration of everything that is good about farms from its vines to its dam and its birdlife…all without chemicals.
One tip I picked up from Mark Eather is not to wash fish fillets or shellfish like scallops. As he said people don’t put steak under the tap so why would you fillet a fish and put the fillet under the tap? When I come to think about it, I usually wash scallops but won’t be doing so from now on.
Apart from Kylie’s restaurant, Mark supplies Neil Perry’s Rockpool restaurant with seafood from Tasmanian waters.
Keeping our waters clean and our land uncontaminated is not only good for the environment, it is the key to health and a healthy bank account.