Showcasing the best produce the region has to offer is the signature initiative of the spring Great Lakes Food Trail.
Held twice a year, the Great Lakes Food Trail is a collective of like-minded producers and businesses who share a common goal - connecting local and ethical producers to the community.
This year's spring event will be held on Sunday, October 6 and visits nine locations along the Lakes Way scenic drive between Bulahdelah and Rainbow Flat.
Stops along the trail include:
- In Bulahdelah, visitors can meet the little lambs and hear informative talks about farming practices at Yeo Farm then take a free guided tour at Old Inn Road and learn how this vineyard uses organic principles to produce their 2019 Gold Medal Verdelho.
- In Wootton, enjoy light refreshments at the community built and managed Brush Turkey Café and tour the Sustainable Farming Group display showcasing local Landcare activities. Then try the local produce grazing platter and a glass wine at the Great Lakes Paddocks, which will have live music in the afternoon.
- In Boolambayte, visit the homestead and gardens at Elraes Farmhouse and enjoy light refreshments on the verandah made from a variety of produce grown on their farm.
- In Bungwahl, book into a farm tour and taste the 2019 National Gold Medal Delicious Dolce Nina curd cheese and 2018 State Winner Delicious Buffalo Mozzarella at the Burraduc Farm and Artisan Water Buffalo Dairy. Then explore the award winning gardens at the Bungwahl Public School with the 2018 NSW Educator of the Year and enjoy the canteen meals grown and prepared by the students.
- In Forster take a free guided tour with the brewer and enjoy beer tastings at The Coastal Brewing Company. Then visit Rainbow Flat to enjoy the local produce in the café garden at Valley View Farm and try the 2019 Australian Food Silver Award garlic.
The Great Lakes area is now carving out a strong position for premium local produce, Great Lakes Food Trail president, Sue Williams.
"The array of awards amongst the producers together with increasing market demand locally and further afield for produce from the area highlights the strength of the region for its produce," she said.
"Through working together we've been able to improve accessibility for locals and visitors to the region to the very best in local produce and the Food Trail is at the very heart of this.
"As people become much more conscious around the food and drink that they consume, the Food Trail provides people with the opportunity to hear, see first-hand and ask questions."
Now in its third year, the Food Trail not only provides an opportunity for the community to garner a greater understanding of the region's produce but at the same time, has stimulated demand and strengthened markets for producers and providores.
A tangible example of this is the Farm to Fridge online store that provides access to local produce delivered to the door and through a 'hub' arrangement in Bulahdelah, Wootton, Pacific Palms, Forster and Taree.
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.