Beyond the Farm Gate

A brand new book takes us behind the scenes to meet the makers of the South West's most delicious produce

BTFG front cover low resThis new book is a celebration of the artisans who have unlocked the terroir of our ancient land. These men and women are, in turn, celebrating their gastronomic adventure by producing food that is expressive of their region and with an astounding variety of influences.

I asked these special people to reveal their stories, their secrets and their recipes. Fortunately, they agreed. Some of their recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.  I feel very privileged to be able to share them with you.

Where to purchase your produce

Miller’s Ice Creamery, Cowaramup

Dairy farmers, Paul and Trish Miller, were savouring an ice cream whilst sitting on their newly renovated worker’s cottage and were pondering their future. The sun was setting over the surrounding paddocks and the milking cows were contentedly grazing away when the idea of opening an ice creamery in a dairy town began to form. The dairy industry had recently been deregulated, the local milk co-operative had hit the wall and the future as a dairy farmer in Cowaramup was looking pretty bleak for this couple. They had always shared a passion for delicious, creamy swirls of rich ice cream. What if they made a business out of it?

Ice cream products can be purchased from their Cowaramup site or Margaret River store.

Margaret River Silk Road, Metricup

Mulberry tea has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, so I am interested to taste this special brew. I sip on the red tea and am informed that this simple infusion contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Of course, I scoff but as Amanda thrusts the research under my nose I also learn that the teas are high in antioxidants, caffeine-free, packed with vitamins and used to prevent and treat a number of health conditions. Not only that, mulberry leaves have ten times more iron than spinach and over twice the fibre of green tea. Slowly, I savour every mouthful and feel healthier by the minute!

Mulberry and silk products can be purchased from their Margaret River business located at 415 Harmans Mill Road, Metricup.

Gracehill Farm, Cowaramup

Cowaramup is a region of contrasting beauty and this unique property is blessed with a spectacular outlook. The rain is falling hard and I look up in wonderment as the sky empties and the dam fills. Quickly, we seek refuge inside the homestead and sit around a charmingly rustic wooden table that overlooks the gently flowing creek. A newly planted north-facing Oldman Saltbush paddock lies in the distance in readiness to capture the sun’s warming rays when the clouds eventually part. Soon, the plants will be ready for the lambs to graze on their salty, pungent leaves. It’s easy to lose all sense of time here.

Produce can be purchased from Riversmith café, Bussell Highway Margaret River (the café is also owned by Gracehill Farm).

Cackleberries, Donnybrook

I am thoroughly enjoying my drive through the pristine forests of Donnybrook, so much so that when I eventually arrive at my destination, I wonder if I’ve made a wrong turn. Before me is a small cluster of caravans that look like they belong to a travelling circus. But as I venture further into the property, I hear the magical sound I’ve been waiting for: a cackle, soon followed by a chorus of cackles. This is followed by a flurry of feathers. I stretch my legs and find that Edward Valentine is standing before me with a bucket of food in his hands and I immediately see the reason for the growing crescendo of cackles. It’s dinnertime at Cackleberries biodynamic egg farm and the ladies are hungry.

Cackleberries free range and biodynamic eggs are available from Rice Paper market Busselton and at various Perth metro locations. Click here for up to date stockist information.

River Valley Sheep Dairy, Harvey

Cheesemakers use a range of methods to add a level of complexity to their maturing curds, washing the cheeses with brine, coating them in ash, rubbing them with oil or allowing the growth of natural moulds. As I enjoy a tasting of River Valley’s range, it’s clear that Chris has mastered this art. I am also struck by the strong, bold flavour profiles and earthy aromas of the cheeses. These are true farm cheeses and a great combination of all of the elements I love: creamy, salty, savoury and sweet.

River Valley Sheep Dairy products are available to purchase from Bunbury Farmers’ Market.

Nannup Brook Farm, Nannup

I watch as Simon expertly lights the smoker. The heady aroma of pine needles envelops me as he gently pumps the smoker into action and inserts it into the wooden frame. He withdraws the frame from the hive to reveal a web of honeycomb that is literally oozing with dark golden jarrah honey. Simon gives me a spoon and I unearth a divine scoop of pure, raw honeycomb. I devour this oozingly delicious treat in milliseconds and am left craving more. And there down below I spy the queen bee, happily encapsulated in her own special chamber.

Honey is available to purchase online and at the Nannup local markets. Click here for up to date stockist information.

Meet the makers

meet-the-makers Beyond the Farmgate has heaps more information about the region’s producers and where you can meet them. The book is available to purchase online and from Your Margaret River Region visitor centres.

Find the full list of Your Margaret River Region’s markets, producers and farm gates here.

Danielle Costley

Author Danielle Costley

Danielle Costley is an author, journalist and avid foodie. She has worked with many well-known chefs, who have inspired her to learn more about sourcing and buying locally-grown seasonal food. Her passion for exceptional regional food that speaks of its origins has driven her to write a book celebrating not only her ‘food finds’ but the wonderful growers whose dedication to quality has changed Western Australia’s food scene. Danielle lives in the South West with her young family and has spent the last two years travelling around this food lover’s paradise, discovering a bounty of local produce. And now she is inviting you into the homes of these farmers who share their stories and recipes with you on this gastronomic food trail which captures the beauty of the South West and its inherent connection with food.

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