OK, seriously talk: we love food. We love buying, growing, eating, cooking, sharing, ordering, adoring and posting a few too many pictures of it on Instagram.
But lately, foodies are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, how it’s prepared and what happens to it before it reaches the plate. Whether you want to call it a “paddock-to-plate”, “know your farmer” or “locavorism” movement, all this background information has become a requirement.
Well stop everything, because we’ve found the perfect local Queensland foodie event to satisfy all your curiosities. It’s called Felton Food Festival, and it will be held on April 10.
I was lucky enough to visit the region and test-drive what the Felton Food Festival has to offer and let me tell you, it definitely has my tick of approval. Here are some reasons the foodies of Brisbane should head inland this weekend for the food festival to end all food festivals:
Reason 2: You get to meet the farmers
(Remember #1 was because food, remember? We love it!)
It’s highly likely you’ve come across their produce, whether in your nearest supermarket, a local market or your favourite dining spot, but now you have the chance to meet the farmers behind the food. During my time in Felton Valley, I was invited onto the farms, paddocks and land of the local producers.
And it didn’t stop there. I was even invited into their homes, including the Koala Farms lettuce farmer whose cos lettuce twin packs are stocked in most supermarkets. I got to pay a visit to the organic free-range quail farmers from Banyard Game Farm (Queensland’s only quail meat operation), who sell to a lot of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and James Street’s bar. I also met the mother and son duo creating the freaking delicious Seatonfire Chilli Chocolate bars and brownies at their boutique farm operation where they grow, pick and process their chilies by hand.
The festival is a great opportunity to meet these people for yourself, ask your burning questions and bridge the gap between their passion and pride and your plate.
Reason 3: They’re launching non-GMO gluten-free flours!
See these red crops? These are sorghum, and they’re one of three non-GMO (which means they’re not genetically modified – win!) gluten-free flours to be launched by Mac Foods at the festival this year. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of their tarts and brownies, which you can buy at the festival too. We all picked sorghum to be the next big superfood, so do with that what you will.
Reason 4: You can taste EVERYTHING
Come early and with an empty stomach! Last year more than 8000 foodies entered The Farm and you can imagine the lines for some of the favourite produce stations. Everything you see, you can taste, purchase and pack into your little basket or car boot and rave about it to anyone who’ll listen on your return to the big smoke.
At least, that’s what I did after seeing our magnificent gourmet ploughman feast from Impressions on Scott at the site of this year’s festival. All of the ingredients for the meals and desserts were provided by the local farmers who will be represented at the Felton Food Festival and the images still make me drool, bringing back each unique flavour to my taste buds.
Reason 5: It’s on an actual paddock
You can’t really get any closer to the source than a paddock! The Felton Food Festival is hosted on a working farm in the picturesque Felton Valley and offers visitors a look into the life of a farmer and their produce, while also serving up a whole lot of entertainment with live music, activities for kids, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and crop tours.
Reason 6: You travel through Toowoomba
Toowoomba has steadily transitioned into a food and arts hub in the past few years, with street art welcomed (they even have their own Street Art festival in May this year: First Coat), a new airport up and running and consistently high-quality cafes and restaurants about town. We had a quick caffeine boost from The Finch Cafe and headed to The Sauce Kitchen for a lovely morning tea in a heritage-listed former granary, where we walked through their produce garden to their entry. Everything is organic, locally-sourced and made on site and there’s an industrial kitchen where you can book in for a cooking class. But be warned: they book out fast!
Reason 7: You’ll want to stay a little longer
Why not make a weekend of it? If you want an authentic stay as a side to your food journey, The Bull & Barley Inn is nestled in the heart of Cambooya (a 10-minute drive from the festival grounds) and has an old-world vibe to its cosy interiors, with interesting historical photographs displayed throughout the pub and accommodation. If you’d like to shop around for options, the festival has a list of the best accommodation in close proximity to The Farm right here.
Felton Food Festival: FREE entry
WHEN: Sunday, April 10, 9am to 4pm
WHERE: The Farm, 64 Bryces Rd, Felton
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