Driving into our local villages in the Daylesford Macedon region, you’re likely to spot honour boxes selling in-season berries, fruit, vegetables, eggs, chestnuts and more. You pop into cafés and general stores stocking local produce, and there’s at least one farmers’ market operating somewhere in the region each weekend. Visit dmproduce.com.au/markets for details.
But this is no tourist trap. Daylesford boasts the only fully accredited (guaranteed to be local produce) weekly farmers’ market in regional Victoria. We also have many CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) schemes operating here. A local community that knows what it has in its backyard - and creates demand - is critical to making local regenerative farming viable.
Visitors clearly also want a piece of the local food action, so guests staying at Lake House are offered a chilly bag in which they can put their food shopping. I’m told that there are sensational dinners being created with our produce in many a leafy Melbourne suburb; no doubt washed down with wines, beer and ciders from our region. Real bread will have come from John Reid’s sensational RedBeard bakery in Trentham or Daylesford’s wonderful Double Fold community bakery.
But perhaps the quickest snapshot of our local bounty is to list what’s currently available to us as cooks at Lake House. On our menus are vegetables, fruit or berries from: Adsum Farmhouse, Angelica Organics, Mt Franklin Organics, Morningswood Farm, Daylesford Organics and our own Dairy Flat Farm. All these are just down the road, and all are regeneratively farmed by folk passionate about growing the best produce.
Then there’s Sommerlad chickens from nearby Milking Yard Farm, beef from Brooklands Free Range Farm’s British Whites cattle and Black Berkshire pork from the same supplier. Those pigs incidentally are fed whey from Goldfields Cheeses and fallen apples from Daylesford Cidery in the sort of producer to producer relationship often forged here. I can tell you the resulting meat is oh so very sweet. Our Wagyu is from Sher – again just down the road. And Honest Egg Co Real Eggs - the best in the world I reckon - are produced by hens belonging to Paul Righetti who runs his great grandfathers farm in nearby Yandoit. Their bird-to-space ratio makes a mockery of most “free range” claims. The Fermentary in Daylesford supplies us with delicious kefirs and krauts. In season, our truffles are from nearby Black Cat Truffles. Salt Kitchen in Ballarat sorts most of our smallgoods requirement – some of it being produced from those delicious Brooklands pigs. And there’s also Istra smallgoods in nearby Musk. Then there’s Jonai Farms exceptional pork, Vue du Vulcan ducks and blueberries from Trewhella Farm. Brilliant honey comes from local apiarist Des O’Toole. Farther afield is impeccable McIvor Pork, delicious meaty ducks from Milla’s Farm in Mount Macedon and organic cheeses from Holy Goat. I’ve only just scratched the surface…and there’s more coming on line every day…