Garlic glory on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island man Shane Leahy is on a mission to ensure South Australians have a better chance of consuming locally grown garlic.

His fledgling enterprise, Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic, is the island’s first commercial garlic farm, and Shane says this year’s harvest is his first successful yield after three years spent perfecting his growing techniques.

He is a strong advocate against imported garlic, saying the flavour of the local produce compared to imported is second to none. He is also passionate about the health and environmental benefits of choosing Australian grown garlic.

“It stunned me when I first started growing and learning about garlic about what they do to imported garlic,” he says. “By the time it gets here to Australia and it’s put on our plate, you may as well eat a cardboard box.”

According to the Australian Garlic Producers Group, Australia imports about 95% of its garlic from China, where the garlic is treated with a growth retardant to prevent it from sprouting and is also sprayed with chemicals to extend its shelf life.

Shane Leahy of Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic based at Stokes Bay on the island.

Australia also imports garlic from Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the US, with all imported garlic treated with methyl bromide upon arrival to ensure it meets stringent quarantine import conditions.

Australia’s garlic crops are generally planted in autumn, ready for harvest by late spring, depending on the conditions and growing region.

To combat the seasonality of locally grown garlic, Shane has launched a range of value-added products so consumers can enjoy locally grown garlic all year round. He invested in peeling and dehydration equipment to make garlic granules, garlic powder and garlic salt, made with no additives or preservatives.

These products have launched into independent supermarkets and selected greengrocers across metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA, with distributors also in Queensland and Darwin.

The fresh, whole white and purple hardneck garlic bulbs are currently only available on KI, but Shane says plans are afoot to distribute the produce statewide.

Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic also supplies freshly peeled garlic to top restaurants and cafés in Adelaide and on KI, including Southern Ocean Lodge, Rockpool Café, Sunset Food and Wine, and the Aurora Ozone Hotel.

Aside from fresh bulbs, Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic also makes garlic salt, garlic powder and garlic granules.

“Because of the strong flavour of Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic I only need to use one third of the quantity to achieve the same flavour as inferior products,” says Aurora Ozone Hotel head chef Lenny Numa.

Shane took to garlic growing after spending most of his working life in the wool industry as a wool classer. While born in SA, his family moved to Fremantle in WA where he spent most of his childhood and adolescence, completing a TAFE course in wool classing.

He then spent years travelling around the country, hopping from shearing shed to shearing shed until he one day took a wool classing job on KI.

He still moved around during the off-season but grew tired of the constant travelling. In 2003, KI became his home base, with its population of 4000 people and the many mates he made at the front bar of the local pub.

Two of those mates were brothers Lachie and Sam Hollitt and over a few beers the trio came up with a grand plan – to grow garlic on the island and sell it to market.

Shane says Sam was the brains behind the idea, with the three men eventually taking a trip to the Mid North to “pick the brains of an old fella” who had been growing garlic for years.

But on the cusp of launching their enterprise, Sam was killed in a car accident, leaving the small community devastated. In a second bout of tragedy, Lachie later fell ill with testicular cancer and nine months after the diagnosis he passed away.

This year’s harvest is Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic’s first successful yield.

Months later, Shane toyed with the idea of continuing the garlic venture in honour of his two mates, believing “it was what the boys would have wanted”.

And so he carried on with the plans in their memory, eventually meeting a grower in Renmark, buying seed and planting thousands of them by hand over one acre on his property at Stokes Bay.

Four years later and the garlic crop of about 300,000 plants takes up about 3ha of his 250-acre farm, which also runs 400 crossbred ewes for meat production.

Shane says he hopes to do the brothers proud with his garlic enterprise, which is still a one-man operation besides a small number of workers employed seasonally.

He says KI’s cold climate helps accentuate the strong flavour of the garlic and says his go-to garlic recipe is a simple garlic butter.

“Work half a pouch of the garlic powder into a knob of butter and you have the best garlic butter in the world,” he adds.

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Millicent’s Mayura Station a cut above the rest

A beef producer from the state’s South East has won top honours in Delicious magazine’s National Produce Awards.

Mayura Station at Millicent on the Limestone Coast won Best Product From the Paddock for its full-blood Wagyu beef, as judged by a panel top-heavy with some of the country’s most respected chefs.

“We’re over the moon,” says Mayura’s owner, Scott de Bruin. “But it’s almost as if we had an unfair advantage. We’ve got the rolling green hills and, it being the Limestone Coast, beautiful soil full of calcium, which is just what growing animals need.”

Mayura, founded in 1845 as one of the state’s first pastoral leases, came under the stewardship of the de Bruin family in the 1980s and the first Wagyu herd was imported from Japan in 1998 by Scott’s father.

Mayura Station owner Scott de Bruin.

At first they focussed solely on producing breeding stock, but Scott soon realised there was an opportunity to do more, so he bought some cattle from his father and started his own breeding program, focussing on the production of prime beef.

His hunch paid off when he took some samples to Adelaide. Mayura Wagyu first appeared on a menu at The Grange, headed by iconic SA chef Cheong Liew, and its popularity just exploded from there.

“Consistency has always been the key for us,” says Scott. “There’s a lot of science behind delivering a product with the best possible flavour and texture.”

The cattle go through a carefully regulated management regime to maximise the quality of the meat. The final stages of feeding, at what Scott calls the Mayura Moo Cow Motel, include some unusual ingredients; e.g. chocolate.

The stock are fed chocolate during the final stages of feeding.

“Yep, chocolate,” he confirms. “Usually factory seconds – Kit Kats are a favourite. It gives the meat a genuinely unique flavour that’s instantly recognisable.”

“Traditionally beef production is focussed on rapid growth at the lowest cost,” Scott continues. “But at Mayura our focus is on quality – slow, steady growth, which gives the beef a fine texture and a beautiful mouth-feel.”

Their hard work has certainly paid off, if the number of awards Mayura has received over the years are anything to go by.

Mayura Station is a major employer and tourism drawcard in the Millicent area, particularly since opening The Tasting Room, an award-winning on-farm restaurant that showcases prime cuts of export-grade Wagyu, matched with a range of top quality local produce and “museum wine vintages” from around the region.

“We’ve always had a strong emphasis on locals supporting locals,” says Scott. “Through our Wagyu Experience, Head Chef Mark Wright introduces diners to some of the delicious but lesser-known cuts of beef, matched with the best local ingredients and wines.”

For the record, Scott’s favourite cut of Mayura Wagyu is the Zabuton – a small fillet named after the Japanese pillow that it resembles – grilled over charcoal.

“One of the great things about good quality Wagyu is that nearly every cut is a grilling cut,” he says. “A couple of minutes each side and it’s ready.”

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Sunday trading, upgrades on the cards for Adelaide Central Market

The Adelaide Central Market has $22m worth of infrastructure upgrades in the pipeline over the next decade, as the 149-year-old food hub aims to retain its historic charm while preparing for the modern age.

The market, which is one of the largest undercover markets in the southern hemisphere, is gearing up for an overhaul which includes new air-conditioning, a renewal of the Gouger Street frontage, and stage two of a new waste and recycling centre.

The upgrades are part of the Adelaide Central Market Authority (ACMA’s) four-year Strategic Plan, which sets out a vision to make the city institution the best food and produce market in the world.

As infrastructure upgrades unfold at the Central Market, Sunday trading is also being investigated. Photo by Nikki Firth, Take in Outside.

The Strategic Plan was formed through a number of initiatives raised by market traders during a six-month consultation process – the most extensive ever undertaken by current management.

The plan also suggests the potential for adjusted trading hours to meet customer expectations and this week the market’s traders are being surveyed to determine what opening hours would best suit their needs.

ACMA general manager Aaron Brumby told Brand SA News that an historic move to introduce Sunday trading is a possibility, as is longer trading on Saturdays.

He says adjusted trading hours could come into effect by the second half of 2018.

“The trading hours have been this way for nearly two decades and customer preferences are changing,” Aaron says.

“We are seeing a lot more people shop later into the evening and shopping on Sundays, so we need to review those hours with our traders … to see if there is something better we can do.

“We have nine million visitors a year and we’re still the number one tourist destination in SA, and we want that to continue and only improve.”

“The aim is for us, is to be the best produce market in the world.”

The Federal Hall lettering on the market’s Grote Street façade has been restored.

Aaron says the infrastructure upgrades would ensure that “behind the scenes facilities” such as toilets, lighting, communications systems, and heritage façades would “be in the best condition they can be and as contemporary as possible”.

However, retaining heritage and the market’s “grittiness” is also crucial, he says.

“The $22m we’re spending is more about customer comfort and changing things the customer can’t see,” Aaron says.

“The 2019/20 budget includes $2.5m to replace the air-conditioning and that will make a huge difference in summer … on a 40C day the market is normally 27C inside, but we’ll have it down to 20–21C.

“It will increase the shelf life of the produce.”

Recent infrastructure upgrades have included restoration of the façade at the Grote Street entrance, set to be completed in a fortnight.

“We have put the original lettering of Federal Hall back on the building,” Aaron says.

“The letters are one metre tall and set the building off beautifully.”

The Federal Hall as it was in 1912.

The ACMA is also hoping to activate the Grote and Gouger Street footpaths to create more activity and drive interest.

It also wants to feature more regional stallholders to showcase produce from areas including the Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, Clare Valley and Limestone Coast.

The market is currently home to the Kangaroo Island stall which allows consumers to sample and buy island produce, wine, spirits and other goods.

Stallholders will also be encouraged to “create theatre and demonstrate unique skills” to customers to liven the experience and build greater consumer-trader relationships.

“We can create a really good experience with tastings and have traders with a wealth of knowledge out the front of their shops spruiking their products and sharing with the consumer about what makes them so special,” Aaron says.

Fanis Katsarelias from Adelaide Central Market stall Wild Loaf.

He says the need to improve the market’s offerings and facilities is down to increased competition from 70 new supermarkets that have been built or refurbished across Adelaide in the past 10 years.

“We sell about one million kilograms of fruit and veg every month, that’s what makes us the pantry for the CBD,” Aaron says.

“For us to continue to sell those sorts of volumes and be successful, everything needs to be as good as it can be.”

The Adelaide Central Market is currently full at 76 traders and a waiting list of 16 businesses.

More than 500 people are employed throughout the market, with the average trader tenure lasting 42 years.

Lolly shop Blackeby’s Sweets is the longest running business at 102 years, while Charlesworth Nuts is the longest running business by the same family at 84 years, followed by Lucia’s at 60 years.

“That’s what makes the market special, that’s why we have multi-generational families in the market,” Aaron says.

“We’re the oldest market in Australia in its original location, we’ve been in this spot since 1869.”

Aaron will leave his position at the ACMA in July, before taking on a new role at SA disability organisation Bedford Group.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

The island beekeeper and his pure passion for the sweet stuff

After years spent hanging around hives of hardworking honey bees, Kangaroo Island local Peter Davis is still fascinated – and never in fear – of the industrious insects.

“You become fascinated by their ability,” says Peter, owner of one of the country’s biggest organic honey producers, Island Beehive.

“If the conditions are right, they can be so gentle. I never wear gloves.

“I’ve had people who are allergic or afraid of bees and within three minutes their hand is comfortably covered in them.”

Peter David grew up around bees on Kangaroo Island, home to the world’s only remaining purebred population of the Ligurian honey bee.

After growing up on his family’s mixed-use farm on Kangaroo Island, Peter developed a soft spot for one of his homeland’s major differences – the Ligurian honey bee.

Kangaroo Island is home to the world’s only remaining pure strain of the Ligurian bee and is also the world’s oldest bee sanctuary.

The Ligurian bee, originally from Italy, was imported by the SA Chamber of Manufactures in the early 1880s and shortly after the 4500 square-kilometre island was declared a bee sanctuary.

Bees cannot fly the distance between the mainland and Kangaroo Island, meaning the island has remained free of bee diseases.

Peter, who grew up near the government apiary at Flinders Chase in the 1950s, has dedicated his working life to protecting the Ligurian bee and learning of its heritage.

Peter’s hives are scattered throughout the island.

“It’s really important that we make Kangaroo Island locals a part of the heritage and that they want to participate in it,” he says.

“Over the last 12 years there’s been a dramatic change of awareness in people around the world doing everything they can to protect all bees.

“But I think we can do much more.”

Learning how to breed queen bees from a young age, Peter continued his passion for beekeeping and producing honey products.

He first sent queen bees to Denmark in 1991, and two years later received a request from Sweden for 250 more.

In 1995, he sent another 250 queens and was fast becoming well-known among overseas apiarists.

Now the 71-year-old runs the Island Beehive factory in Kangaroo Island’s main hub of Kingscote and produces up to 200 tonnes of honey per year.

Ligurian honey has a delicate, subtle flavour.

“We export about 60 tonnes of honey a year, with 40 tonnes going to Japan,” he says.

“They’ve been our customer for over nine years, however, one of the best ways to export honey is by people coming through the doors and taking products home with them.

“You can’t take honey to New Zealand or WA, but you can virtually anywhere else in the world.”

Island Beehive has more than 1000 beehives scattered across the island and employs 14 people.

Kangaroo Island Ligurian Honey is sold in the factory’s shop and in other outlets across the island.

It’s also sold in 200L drums and sent across Australia and to Japan.

Peter’s honey has been known to support many other South Australian food manufacturers, including Spring Gully and B.-d. Farm Paris Creek.

“We created a demand,” he says.

“Ligurian bee honey tastes so much better than other honey because we have such a diverse range of flora on Kangaroo Island.

“We have species of mallee that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.”

So you wanna be a beekeeper?

TAFE SA is offering a short course in beekeeping on March 17 and 18, April 7 and 8, and May 12 and 13.

The two-day beginners short course at TAFE SA’s Urrbrae campus and beekeeping site in the Adelaide Hills covers topics including new hives, diseases, honey extraction and legal requirements.

For more information click here.

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Support local at the I Choose SA Farmers’ Market Weekend

There’s something charming about wandering through stalls overloaded with fresh veggies and sampling a slice of brie before having a yarn with a local grower … all in the same space!

That’s a South Australian farmers’ market for you, and this weekend we’re celebrating 11 of them across metropolitan and regional SA.

Brand South Australia is sharing the importance of shopping local at the I Choose SA Farmers’ Market Weekend on February 24 and 25.

Whether it’s just-picked fruit or freshly baked sourdough, when you shop local you’re not only buying high quality goods, but you’re supporting the endeavours of everyone involved.

“It’s really important to showcase our amazing local produce and remind all South Australians to choose locally sourced fresh produce,” says Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen.

So grab your shopping bag, free up your Saturday or Sunday morning (or both!) and get ready to chat to locals, sample some local fare and do your bit for our state’s farmers and food producers.

Need something to carry around your goods? I Choose SA tote bags are available from Brand South Australia’s online marketplace, Shop South Australia.

The Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers’ Market features produce from different corners of SA.

Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Leader Street, Wayville
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 8am–noon

This market was named the nation’s best farmers’ market in 2015 by the Australian Traveller magazine, so it’s one definitely worth a stop.

This Sunday Celebrity chef Simon Bryant will host a cooking demonstration from 11am.

Buskers, live music and kids games will also add to the atmosphere, but best to get in early as the market usually attracts about 6000 people!

Adelaide Hills Farmers’ Market
WHERE: 23 Mann Street, Mt Barker
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 8.30am–12.30pm

The Hills market will feature a cooking demonstration by Season Garden Café owner Silvia Hart from 10.30–11.30am.

An animal nursery will entertain kids from 9.30am–12.30pm, while face painting and live music will also unfold.

Keen to hear something a little different? Be sure to chat to the owners of Adelaide Hills Pastured Eggs, who will tell you all about the Maremma sheepdogs who protect the farm’s hens from predators.

Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread or pastries? No, there is not.

Barossa Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Cnr Nuriootpa and Stockwell Roads, Angaston
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 7.30–11.30am

From jams to award-winning cream, dried fruit, fresh veggies, olive oil and dukkah, this market features the best of the Barossa (and was named 9th best in Australia in 2015 by the Australian Traveller magazine).

Aside from the usual offerings, the Barossa Farmers’ Market will this weekend feature a scavenger hunt and hide and seek games to keep kids entertained.

Cittaslow Goolwa Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Jeralde Park, Goolwa Wharf Precinct
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 9am–1pm

Teams will put their Webers (and other smoking equipment) to the test this Sunday for the annual Cittaslow Smoke Off.

From ham to fish, beef and chicken, cooks will smoke all kinds of fare in hope of being crowned the best.

A smoked meat demonstration will also show market goers how it’s done.

Kingscote Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Bay of Shoals Winery, Kangaroo Island
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 10am–2pm

Islander Bridgette Bruce from Flavours of Petite Provence will cook up a storm in her market to plate cooking demonstration.

Located at the scenic Bay of Shoals Winery, this market is one for having a cuppa, grabbing some food, having a browse and making a morning of it.


Mt Gambier Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Watson Terrace, Mt Gambier
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 9am–noon

You can’t go past the Limestone Larder Pies, Kalangadoo Organic juices or the Pine Ridge Honey, just to name a few.

Nor can you go past produce picked just the day before the market.

Kids will be entertained and educated about life on an Aussie farm through a performance by George the Farmer.

Mt Pleasant Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Mt Pleasant Showgrounds, Melrose Street, Mt Pleasant
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 8am–noon

2014 My Kitchen Rules winner Bree May, now behind ‘Food According to Bree’, – will host a cooking demonstration from 9.30am. The first 20 people to grab a seat will receive a free goodie bag!

This under-cover market features quality produce from the southern Barossa and Adelaide Hills and will also feature an SA Food Trail.


Riverland Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Berri Senior Citizens’ Hall, Crawford Terrace, Berri
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 7.30–11.30am

This Riverland gem is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors as the brekky bar offers a range of local food choices, freshly squeezed orange juice and, of course, locally roasted coffee.

To get a good overview of this food bowl region, check out stallholders Glen View Poultry Farm, Riverland Dried Fruits, and Bella Lavender.

Victor Harbor Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Grosvenor Gardens, Torrens Street, Victor Harbor
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 8am–12.30pm

This is the place to embrace and support Fleurieu producers.

From home-style baked treats to boxes of stone fruits, hand crafted choccies, and wild caught seafood – the Victor Harbor market is a seaside treat.

Also, don’t miss Victor Hotel’s Dan Armon’s cooking demonstration!

Willunga Farmers’ Market bustles with hundreds of people every Saturday.

Willunga Farmers’ Market
WHERE: Willunga Town Square, Main Road, Willunga
WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 8am–12.30pm

Celebrity chef Simon Bryant will delight the audience’s senses with a cooking demonstration from 10.30am.

This weekend the market is also celebrating its 16th birthday with games and activities for the kids as well as henna tattoos and face painting.

Grab a coffee, have a graze, and stock up for the week ahead.

Wirrabara Producers’ Market
WHERE: High Street, Wirrabara
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 8.30am–noon

The Mid North is not exempt from farmers’ market frivolities – the Southern Flinders Ranges town of Wirrabara is a foodie’s haven.

Whether it’s homegrown, handmade or home-cooked – you’ll find something to fill your tote bag.

Check out local craft stalls, taste a drip of local honey or simply watch the crowd go by in the sunshine.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Story of growth for Angaston’s queen of cheese

Barossa Valley artisan producer Victoria McClurg has come a long way in her cheesemaking pursuits since crafting her first ever camembert in 2003 at home at the kitchen sink.

Now her Barossa Valley Cheese Co has settled into its new fit out after a near $1m expansion that has increased the business’ total footprint threefold.

Staff numbers have also more than doubled to 18 people.

Victoria says the expansion, which kicked off in 2014 and was boosted by a $200,000 Regional Development Fund grant, was necessary as the cheese tasting premises often reached visitor capacity.

The production cellar had also outgrown its facilities, she says.

The Barossa Valley Cheese Co cellar door and factory in Angaston has undergone significant expansion in the past three years.

“We were at a point where we couldn’t fit everyone … it was pretty intense,” she says.

“We’re now offering innovative opportunities for visitors that we weren’t able to provide before, which brings people to our business and contributes to the regional community.”

Barossa Valley Cheese Co has diversified from an earlier focus on only soft cheeses to include semi-matured varieties.

Production now reaches up to 10,000 litres a week, with milk sourced from the Nietschke dairy farm north of Angaston.

“The Nietschke family enable us to use 100% Barossa cows’ milk for the authenticity and integrity of our flagship products,” Victoria says.

The Barossa Valley Cheese Co has supported local dairy farming family the Nietschke’s since day one.

Victoria originally studied winemaking and travelled to Bordeaux, France, where she claimed a new appreciation for premium food and wine experiences.

Like Adelaide, Bordeaux is part of the Great Wine Capital Network, an exclusive cluster of nine cities which are internationally recognised wine regions.

But instead of falling deeper in love with wine while in Bordeaux, Victoria found her calling – cheese.

“Life was so simple in Bordeaux, everyone would sit down with friends and family, just enjoying being in each other’s company with a fresh bowl of produce in front of them,” Victoria says.

“That’s what I wanted in my life when I came back to Australia.”

Upon her return to Australia, Victoria moved to Angaston in 2003 and began “experimenting at home at the kitchen sink” with cheesemaking.

She soon mastered the craft and launched Barossa Valley Cheese Co in the main street of Angaston with her mother, Frances.

Pairing cheese with wine? Done before. Try a match making session with tea, cider or gin!

By 2008 their cheese had been crowned grand champion at the Australasian Cheese Competition for two consecutive years.

Over time Victoria has built a reputation for her washed rind cheeses, in particular the ‘bitey’ Barossa Washrind.

Her philosophy is to “keep culture alive by bringing heroes to the table and using what we have got”.

This mantra is evident in her loyalty to the local dairy industry and her integration of other Barossa products into the cheese cellar door experience.

“We offer cheese pairings with local wines, cider, beer, gin and tea,” Victoria says.

“The Barossa has an amazing reputation for its offerings.

“We aim to keep the culture and diversity alive.”

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Fancy a quandong pie at an outback café?

An itch for adventure was all it took for the Banfield family to swap city life in Melbourne for a popular bush bakery in Outback South Australia.

Peter and Mary-Lee Banfield settled in the town of Copley, 6km north of Leigh Creek, over a year ago to run the small but productive Copley Bush Bakery and Quandong Café.

The small settlement is mostly recognised for the bush bakery and its use of the crimson-red native fruit, grown in arid areas of Australia and known for its high Vitamin C value and tart flesh.

The bush bakery and quandong café is run by Peter and Mary-Lee Banfield, right, and their son James and his partner Hannah.

But the Banfields – who settled in Copley along with their son James and his partner Hannah – have big boots to fill when cooking the ‘wild peach’.

The bakery’s previous owners held the reigns for the past 25 years, over which thousands of tourists and travellers flocked to try a quandong pie with a dollop of cream.

“The previous owners gave us their recipe book and they continue to help and support us,” says Mary-Lee.

“The main reason that people come to the bush bakery is because they were told about the quandong pies and have to try them.”

In peak tourist season from late March to October, the Bush Bakery and Quandong Café churns out up to 500 quandong pies per day.

The bush bakery sells up to 500 quandong pies a day in the peak tourist season.

The quandongs are collected by local Aboriginal women who pick the cherry-sized sized fruit from trees in the area.

The pickings are then sold to the Banfields and made into the famous quandong pies, in addition to jams, sauces and chutneys.

In busier times of the year the café also whips up quandong ice cream and cheesecake.

“Some people are cautious of the pies because they’ve never heard of quandongs,” says Mary-Lee.

“But I’ve only had two people not like them.

“They’re like a big cherry and taste a lot like rhubarb when they’re cooked.”

Quandong sauces and chutneys are also available at the café.

The bush bakery and quandong café also cooks up an all-day breakfast, pies (including the much-loved chunky steak and pepper pie) and pasties.

According to the 2016 Census, Copley is home to 72 people. It features the Copley Pub, a general store, mechanical workshop, and caravan park in which the quandong café is located.

So what would persuade the Banfields to adopt the blistering summers and never ending horizons of remote SA?

It began when Peter was travelling to the Far North to work in the mining industry when he convinced Mary-Lee to visit.

“He always said to me, ‘come and see where I work’,” Mary-Lee says.

“So on Boxing Day in 41C heat we went and I loved it.”

One would be foolish to travel along The Outback Highway without stopping at Copley and sampling a Quandong delight.

The pair fell for the outback’s tranquility and laid back lifestyle, so much so they bought a house in Copley and frequented the small town as a holiday destination.

“The opportunity came up for us to run the bakery … it took a year to decide but we knew we wanted a lifestyle change and were looking for adventure,” Mary-Lee says.

“It’s relaxed and slow paced – after living in the city, life is very simple.

“The scenery is spectacular and the weather is fantastic compared to gloomy old Melbourne.

“Every day is a perfect blue sky.”

Mary-Lee says the café offers a “relaxed and friendly atmosphere” and a place of comfort for travellers needing to refuel.

“My philosophy is that if you live in the middle of nowhere you can still get beautiful, fresh food,” she adds.

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Coffee hit for gourmet mushrooms

By Melissa Keogh

Adelaide Hills environmental entrepreneur Daryl Clarke is experiencing a flush of interest from his latest idea – turning wasted coffee grounds into gourmet mushrooms.

The Aldgate IT worker is helping combat wastage from Australia’s caffeine obsession by collecting old coffee grounds from local cafés to make mushroom growing kits.

The coffee grounds are boxed with mushroom spawn into biodegradable Fun Guy Fungi kits, providing the perfect environment and nutrient levels for oyster mushrooms.

Adelaide Hills green thumb Daryl Clarke's mushroom growing kits up-cycle old coffee grounds.

Adelaide Hills green thumb Daryl Clarke’s mushroom growing kits up-cycle old coffee grounds.

Since their launch on World Environment Day in June, hundreds of the kits have sold out across Australia.

Daryl says old coffee grounds are a “throw away commodity” and says that our love for caffeine is having a detrimental impact on the environment.

According to environmental organisation Planet Ark, Aussies are sipping on six billion cups of coffee a day, with 93% of coffee grounds sent to landfill.

“Some cafés have contacted me saying they are really starting to take an interest in organic waste,” Daryl says.

“Others I’ve approached and they think it’s a really cool idea because they’ll be saving on waste costs and are keen to be seen as environmentally conscious.”

The Fun Guy Fungi kits are sold online and from selected cafés, restaurants and fodder stores in South Australia and Victoria.

Growers must keep the boxes regularly watered and place them out of direct sunlight.

After a few weeks the mushrooms will start growing from the biodegradable box.

After a few weeks the mushrooms will start growing from the biodegradable box.

After a few weeks the first mushrooms – which can retail for about $35/kg – will start to appear.

Each box is expected to produce between 500g–1kg of mushrooms over five harvests.

Daryl says he began experimenting with “different ways to use coffee” about three years ago.

He now collects about 100kg of old coffee grounds from local cafés every week, while the cardboard boxes are sourced from Custom Cartons.

“My intention is to expand and start collecting as much coffee as I can and get more products out there,” Daryl says.

“It’s about being smart with what you consume.”

So, do the mushrooms taste like a hint of a morning latté or do they deliver a caffeine hit?

“They don’t contain any coffee whatsoever,” Daryl says.

To learn more about Fun Guy Fungi check out the website and Facebook page.

Mad about mushies? South Australians are heading for the Adelaide Hills to forage for forest fungi. Find out how!

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