Australian Bushfoods magazine
Issue 4, Oct-Nov 1997
My thanks to those who have helped produce this fourth issue:
and of course
I seem to be fielding an increasing number of phone calls and letters from people who simply want some basic information - what to grow and how, where to find the species, how to harvest, where to sell...
Occassionally, I am able to give them some advice which answers some of their questions - usually by putting them in touch with someone else or some literature.
More often, I have to admit that I really don't know but can give some reasonably seasoned suggestions.
One of the more common questions is - how do I go about selling it? This is often asked by people who have relatively small plantings of mixed varieties.
After attending a bushfood workshop in Rockhampton last month, I have a new committment to one form of very direct marketing - local restaurants. Chef Peter Mays attended this workshop and his enthusiasm and real desire to know more were both infectious and exciting. He has a limited number of bushfoods on his menu and wants to have more. They sell well. He likes working with them. He feels that this is a cuisine with great commercial and culinary potential but he made it clear that he needs both product and information in order to make it work. After the workshop, Peter was surrounded by excited growers extolling their product - next time you're in Rocky, visit the Rivers Bistro and see what Peter has created from local produce.
For those taking their first steps in bushfoods, the value of the local market is immediacy, flexibility and instant feed-back. You may not be able to guarantee unlimited supply, you may not have sophisticated storage and packaging resources and you may not be quite sure how the product can be best utilised. You're not alone, but I would wager that most restaurants would be willing to work with you to create unique, local dishes.
The second strong point to come out of this workshop was the power of networking. Fifty to sixty people attended the day and, during the breaks, you could see contacts being made, ideas swapped and support being shared between the participants. DPI are to be commended for their support of this mini conference and the follow-up dinner two weeks later, during which the idea of a Central Queensland Bushfood Association was born. I would strongly urge all growers and would-be growers to lobby DPI/DNR in their region for similar events. If that's not possible, do it yourself - you may be surprised at the response.
The address for Bush Tucker Supply Australia's net site was incorrect in Issue 3 - the real address is:
Extracts from 'The Bushfoods Handbook' - Vic Cherikoff
Notes: Acacia - John Mason
Bunyas and the whole farm plan - John King