Cabin Fever - Arimia x Fervor Pop Up. Credit G Becker Photo

The virtue of farm to table eating arises out of hard work and awareness of the inescapable link between food sustainability, deliciousness, and community health.

A dining experience at any one of these Margaret River Region tables offers a true taste of the season, the land, and the passion of the farmers, producers, and chefs whose menus tell their story of place.

One Table Farm
Cree & Tim from One Table Farm.

One Table Farm

A 10-minute drive east from the Cowaramup township is One Table Farm, the home, cooking school, and regenerative farm run by husband and wife team Cree Monaghan and Tim Hall – alongside a little help from their three kids.

A workshop experienced in their beautifully crafted timber cooking school will help you to both appreciate the results, and understand the effort, involved in living and teaching from farm to table. “Seasonally we produce different percentages of food on our farm, but these days it probably averages close to 90 per cent of what we eat and,” adds Cree, “depending upon the workshop we are running, it will constitute the majority of the food consumed at a class.”

Cree and Tim have planted a diverse crop to allow for preparation of the foods they love: fruits, nuts and vegetables that run the gamut from the quotidian (broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes) to the less usual – foods like capers, tomatillos, asparagus and artichoke. Honey makes the list, alongside small quantities of chicken and other meats, with experimentation branching into tea, coffee and grains.

For Cree the list of rewards is long: self-satisfaction, improved health, the art of patience, alongside drastic minimisation of food waste and carbon sequestering. Not to mention the classes and workshops that allow Cree, Tim and family to feed, teach, and share their story with visitors.

Seasonally we produce different percentages of food on our farm, but these days it probably averages close to 90 per cent of what we eat

Chef Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov from Fervor.
Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov from Fervor.

Fervor

It’s not a conventional farm to table model for chef Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov, but then Fervor isn’t your conventional dining experience: Fervor runs pop-up dining events focussed on showcasing Australian native ingredients on location in unique areas of Western Australia.

Tables are out in the open. The farm is the land around. Describing farm to table as  “sourcing ingredients from as close as possible to the source where it grows”, Paul places special emphasis on partnership, working with traditional custodians and local communities for his produce.

“We try and work directly from communities that wild harvest, or with growers directly,” he explains. “It’s very important to know and respect the Culture that governs these ingredients and takes care of the land, and has done so for millennia.” Menus are precisely attuned to place: a Geraldton wax ice at one location, becomes cabbage palm or marron at another.

Dining experiences are largely outdoors, the environmental backdrop and the community with which he connects further servicing the diner’s connection to the food on the plate. And through food, Paul is hopeful to be part of the change he wishes to see. “In an age where climate change is so prevalent, listening to First Nations people… on the best ways to maintain the land is a very important part of making sure we do things better into the future.”

Keep an eye on Fervor’s website for his next Margaret River Region pop-up.

In an age where climate change is so prevalent, listening to First Nations people… on the best ways to maintain the land is a very important part of making sure we do things better into the future

Arimia Restaurant Evan Hayter
Evan Hayter from Arimia.

Arimia

Chef Evan Hayter relishes the opportunity he has to make an impact on his diners at Arimia, a boutique family-run farm, vineyard and restaurant that sits at the end of a long dirt track in Wilyabrup.

“It’s about raising people’s awareness of what they are eating, where it comes from and what it actually takes to gain that quality of produce,” Evan says, the emphasis an expression of his passion for serving what’s grown.

As head chef reliant on produce from a small-scale farm, this takes considered planning: Margaret River’s cooler climate means winter harvests can be small. Arimia’s solution is to plant well during the warmer months, preserve produce, and rely on other “truly local” certified organic farmers to fill the gaps. The farm’s harvest is diverse: trout from the dam, pork from farm pigs, olive oil, wine (of course), and all manner of fruit and veg cooked up in the off-grid commercial kitchen.

Up to 50 per cent of the restaurant’s five-course menu is farm to table at any time of year, and it’s clear Evan relishes the thought and effort involved in a truly seasonal and farm-led approach to restaurant service. “Having a clear understanding of seasonality should be what all chefs strive for,” he says. “Things just taste better when they are produced with consideration of where they have come from and how they are farmed.”

It’s about raising people’s awareness of what they are eating, where it comes from and what it actually takes to gain that quality of produce

Glenarty Road
The McDonald's, from Glenarty Road.

Glenarty Road

Sasha and Ben McDonald have a farm. A fifth-generation farm, winery, and restaurant on Glenarty Road in Karridale, one of the region’s smaller towns home to an intimate farming community between the Margaret River and Augusta townships.

With such strong family ties, and a sixth generation to care for, Sasha says regenerative farming is the only approach that makes sense – and showcasing the results to diners via a menu sourcing 90 per cent of its produce from the farm is the best way to spread the message.

“Our intention is to sustainably grow nutrient dense food and to honour and celebrate it when we bring it to the table,” Sasha says. “For us it is about a real connection to the land.” Farm-raised pork, beef and lamb appears as housemade charcuterie – “an incredible way to celebrate the nose to tail of the animal” – vegetable varietals are diverse, and fruits, nuts and flowers form the basis for desserts.

To match wines made from the farm vineyard with food grown in the same soil is, believes Sasha, a complete farm to table dining experience. Farm and garden tours can be booked for those curious to learn more.

Our intention is to sustainably grow nutrient dense food and to honour and celebrate it when we bring it to the table

Stu Harcourt at Beerfarm
Beerfarm, Metricup.

Burnt Ends Smoking Co at Beerfarm

There’s nothing cursory about that Beerfarm moniker. Beer, of course: the brewery in Metricup between the Dunsborough and Margaret River townships is well known for producing craft brew’s worth drinking. But in this case we’re all about the “farm” and the cattle raised on the land that gives such character to the Beerfarm menu, which is delivered by on-site kitchen Burnt Ends Smoking Co.

As is Burnt Ends head chef Eileen Booth. “It’s actually phenomenal to be able to see the cattle and then pick the ones that you want, and know how they are raised, what they’re fed and where they roam,” enthuses Eileen. The 160-acre farm showcases its beef at Beerfarm’s Smoking Saturdays: think beef ribs, brisket, bolar blade, tri-tip and chuck. Use of secondary cuts ensures whole animal appreciation, an integral part of that farm to table philosophy that prizes zero waste as much as it does seasonality.

Eileen says elements of the cow that Beerfarm can’t find use for are taken up by the restaurant’s Perth-based butcher. “There is nothing left,” says Eileen. “No wastage. And we’re giving every cut a chance to shine.” Spent grain is fed to the cattle to enhance flavour. It also eliminates waste from the beer making process. And the taste? Just like every other committed farm to table chef, Eileen says the reward for the sustainable focus is clear on the plate. “Hands down that quality is so much better,” she says. “The fat quality. The meat content. Everything about it.”

It’s actually phenomenal to be able to see the cattle and then pick the ones that you want, and know how they are raised, what they’re fed and where they roam

Outdoor Seating at Cullen Wines
Cullen Wines, Wilyabrup.

Cullen Wines

As the Margaret River Region’s only biodynamic and carbon positive winery, Cullen Wines is an opportunity to experience a taste of full circle dining: the blackboard above the cellar door tells diners what’s picking in the biodynamic garden on the vineyard site, the menu links these tastes to your table via the plates of head chef Charlie Chen.

The focus and effort to ensure a complete farm to table experience means that cultivation of a wide range of crops sees around 90 per cent of the menus sourced from Cullen’s biodynamic gardens. A self-guided garden tour invites exploration of what it means to work within biodynamic principals, and a visit to cellar door will further inform around the culture and art of biodynamic wines.

The ability to book seated tastings and a four-course dining experience paired with Cullen wines is the delicious deep dive that will bring the experience together.

Advice from a Local

Our team of local experts are here to help plan and book your stay in the Margaret River Region.