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New Paths, Same Message: Our Industry Has Great St...

New Paths, Same Message: Our Industry Has Great Stories

Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact I’m all about education. I’m hungry for information about food – the ingredients and processes that make our industry possible. Now, I’ve taken to the internet to share home-grown talent with new audiences.

With the help of Surry Hills-based independent production company, Papermoose, I have been part of an exciting project. Jessica Pedemontis now a YouTube channel, bringing information about the country’s best food producers and providores to anyone who wants to log on.

It’s free, it’s informative and it’s about food for foodies. It’s something I’d been talking about with the Papermoose guys for a while and I’m so happy we seized the day and made it happen.

In one of the first episodes I went to visit my friends, cultured butter producer Pepe Saya and John Fairley from Country Valley Dairy. By talking with Pepe and John, I was given first-hand insight into ingredients that are so essential for bakers and pastry chefs: milk, cream and butter.

Pepe takes butter right back to its origins; it’s kneaded, handworked and churned until it achieves the perfect consistency. For him, it’s all about the processes and ingredients that make the best tasting butter. Forget health reasons, forget that it’s pure, he’s about the tasting experience and the result is a product that is silky and very, very fresh.

John, who owns Country Valley Dairy with his partner Sally, lives in New South Wales’ beautiful Picton – a lovely rural environment – where he produces milk, yoghurt and cream. For his cream, the milk isn’t put through a homogeniser, it’s just cream that comes straight out of the separator. If the cows are giving him a certain milk that day, that’s what the cream tastes like… he doesn’t mess with it.

The pair live and breathe their craft. They work with a passion that is admirable and infectious. In my time with them, I was able to go straight to the source and ask questions I’ve never had answered about dairy. And, the best part was I then took Pepe and John’s produce into the kitchen to turn it into chocolate!

Something I think is very important is re-connecting with food. Australians, even those in the food industry, are too often removed from their ingredients and from the everyday people who work hard to get it to them. Even I’m guilty of this. This is why it was so refreshing to go out on the farm with John, pick up handfuls of soil and think about the entire process.

For John, soil is so important. He’s so passionate about soil he even wanted me to smell it! He spends a lot of effort on ensuring the soil is as good as possible, so the cows are as healthy as possible. In turn, his milk is as good as possible. It makes sense when you look at the linear trajectory of what we put in our mouths!

My goal, with more funding, is to unearth the stories of Australia’s (and even the world’s) best essential ingredients. Let’s go to North Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest and talk to chocolate producers about cocoa, let’s dig up truffles in Tasmania, let’s watch chickens run around in Western Australia and analyse their big, colour-rich eggs. Let’s put a face behind the honey industry and let’s find out why fresh, local nuts taste so good in our baking.

I want to mention the price of quality Australian products here, because for many in the industry, this topic is like a big dark horse standing in the room. There is a price for quality, locally-grown and -produced food and anyone selling at the higher-end of the industry will know customers can be hesitant to pay a little extra. They want the quality, but without the price tag! The more we get the message out there about the processes behind quality, ethical Australian food operations, the less people will think twice about paying a few dollars more for a dozen eggs, or for organic milk.

People shouldn’t have to own a restaurant or a farm to get access to meaningful information about their food; they should be able to find out for free. This is what the Jessica PedemontYouTube channel is all about. It has already gained quite a bit of interest, but what’s important moving forward is for the project to get support from those who believe in it.

Get behind us, and we will be able to make more of this type of content.

At the end of the day, we want to tell the story of a good product, with a good meaning and a good ethical grounding. So if you’re out there, get in touch via chocolateartisan@gmail.com.


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