Tweed’s a grow­ing foodie des­ti­na­tion of the world

Bou­tique cock­tail syrups a hit

Tweed Daily News - - LIFE - Rick Koenig rick.koenig@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

FIRST there was Ink Gin, then came Stone and Wood beer, now the Tweed has a new gas­tro­nom­i­cal ace up its sleeve – cock­tail syrup made from na­tive Aus­tralian fruits.

Dub­bing the Tweed the “new foodie des­ti­na­tion of the world”, creators James and Katie Ger­ald have long dreamed of own­ing a farm and Tyal­gum is where they fi­nally achieved it.

It’s here where they pro­duce their Na­tive Col­lec­tion cock­tail syrup range, which fea­tures seven nat­u­ral Aus­tralian flavours in­clud­ing Davidson plum, fin­ger lime, pep­per­berry and bunya nut.

Hav­ing grown up in Thai­land to­gether and later stud­ied in Eng­land, the cou­ple moved to Aus­tralia for a health­ier life­style and to achieve their dream of launch­ing their own small-scale farm­ing and food busi­ness.

“We’re re­ally fo­cused on the Tweed and see the po­ten­tial in the Tweed as a new foodie des­ti­na­tion, not just for Aus­tralia, but for the world,” James said.

“The pro­duce is great and the com­mu­nity is just so sup­port­ive and there’s a fan­tas­tic vibe about the place, the com­mu­nity re­ally sup­ports each other.

“That’s why we bought in the Tweed, where we are the scenery is amaz­ing and the soil is so fer­tile.”

Katie said they were fas­ci­nated by the na­tive bush foods which were

grow­ing on their 42ha farm and wanted to ex­per­i­ment with them.

“We found the po­ten­tial in Aus­tralian na­tives. Once we started tast­ing all dif­fer­ent na­tives and thought they tasted amaz­ing, we wanted to spread the word about them all,” she said.

“We think these are first-class in­gre­di­ents which the world needs to know about.”

Katie said the farm’s rich vol­canic soil and the beau­ti­ful scenery in the Tweed made it the per­fect place to set up shop.

“The land­scape is so unique, it’s beau­ti­ful, the

small towns and vil­lages are su­per-friendly.

“My mother’s English/ir­ish and she said it re­minds her of back home,” she said.

The cou­ple have had no trou­ble set­tling into the Tweed and source all of their in­gre­di­ents lo­cally, in­clud­ing sugar from the mill at Con­dong.

Cock­tail syrups are just the be­gin­ning of the cou­ple’s farm­ing ad­ven­ture.

They aim to use their farm as a re­search and devel­op­ment hub to re­alise their goal of in­no­va­tive and sus­tain­able use of pro­duce from around the re­gion.

“We don’t be­lieve the fu­ture is in mass farm­ing, but small farm­ing hubs and farms within the com­mu­nity,” James said.

“We want to make our farm the head­quar­ters for all these in­no­va­tive creators and at­tract peo­ple to come and see how pro­duce is be­ing grown in a small-scale way.”

With a large fo­cus on ed­u­cat­ing farm­ers about re­silience and re­gen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture, James be­lieves he can help Tweed farm­ers who are grow­ing ter­rific pro­duce but need help mar­ket­ing their prod­uct.

“I think farm­ers need a lit­tle bit of help spread­ing the word about their prod­ucts. They’re great prod­ucts but there’s been a big change in the in­dus­try and ev­ery­one wants to source from lo­cal grow­ers and farm­ers and we want to help make use of that,” he said.

The syrup range is be­ing tri­alled in 15 eater­ies in­clud­ing Bom­bay Crick­eters Club and Tav­erna in Kingscliff and other top eater­ies on the Gold Coast.

Katie said she loved what dif­fer­ent venues were do­ing with their prod­uct.

“It’s so uniquely Aus­tralian and a lot of tourists are com­ing here and it’s ex­cit­ing see­ing chefs and mixol­o­gists want­ing to use our na­tive in­gre­di­ents,” she said. “The plan is to take these flavours over­seas as well, to make them as recog­nis­ably Aus­tralian as the macadamia.”

WIN­NING MIX: Katie and James Ger­ald on their farm near Tyal­gum.

Caldera Fine Foods grew from a fas­ci­na­tion with na­tive bush foods.

A fin­ger lime mix is one of seven syrups used in the Na­tive Col­lec­tion line.

First-class in­gre­di­ents which the world needs to know about.

Caldera Fine Foods uses only nat­u­ral and lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents in its bou­tique cock­tail syrups.

The Na­tive Col­lec­tion syrups have been a hit in bars in the Tweed and on the Gold Coast.

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