Delicious outcome: three Gympie farmers claim top awards
ALREADY a place to live, Gympie's reputation as a place to eat has been given a major boost with three farmers taking home top awards in the 2018 delicious. Produce State Awards.
Ironbark Redclaw Freshwater Crayfish, Rhodavale Pork and Cooloola Milk Pure Pasteurised Cream were all named State Winners this year, and claiming three spots in the list of 16 winners selected from across Queensland.
It was the first year in the awards for Ironbark Redclaw and Cooloola Milk.
Ironbark owner Bill Keast said the win was "vindication of 20 years of hard work".
"We've been in pursuit of excellence all that time," he said.
Mr Keast, who owns the crayfish farm with his wife Rhonda, said they were nominated by a chef from Sydney.
"It was a bit of a surprise to be honest," he said.
A former engineer in Gladstone, the Keasts moved to the region and opened the Wolvi crayfish farm as a change of pace.
Not that it did not come with its own challenges, of course.
"Life on the land is no less busy, but the pressure is a bit in your own control.
"Since then, we have fallen in love with the redclaw industry," he said.
Their love of the produce industry is shared by Rhodavale Pork owners Melinda and Brad Murnane, who claimed a spot in the From the Paddock category.
"It's really awesome to have won," Mrs Murnane said.
"Being a farmer and doing what we do it's your whole life.
"You put your heart and soul into it.
"To put your heart and soul onto a plate and have it judged by one of Queensland's top chefs."
Owners of their Lower Wonga farm for 12 years, the Murnanes moved into the pork industry eight years ago.
Their success at the awards comes barrelling after they launched their "pop-up" butcher service last year.
"The poduce awards are very highly acclaimed. To actually be nominated , we were very thankful."
Cooloola Milk owner Dick Schroeder was contacted by The Gympie Times for comment, but no response was received.
All three will now compete at the national awards in Sydney next month.