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Central Highlands Produce Showcased in Brisbane

The flavours of Central Highlands agriculture have transformed into a fine dining experience in Brisbane.

The fifth annual Farm to Fine Dining Regional Produce Dinner was held recently to promote regional produce and agribusiness to close to 70 influential guests.

Kerry Hayes, Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) Board Chairman and Central Highlands Regional Mayor, says putting local produce in front of decision-makers, investors and developers helps to raise awareness of the region’s agriculture industry and grow future economic opportunity.

“This tangible – and delicious – experience of our region’s produce is a powerful way of giving guests a true appreciation of the diversity and strength of the Central Highlands,” Mayor Hayes says.

“It’s also an opportunity to meet the producers face-to-face, hear their stories and get a strong sense of the passion, innovation and hard work they put into their product.”

Local produce in this year’s menu included white and black table grapes from Fruit Master; sesame crackers, almond Biscotti and fig mustard from Like Mum Used to Make; mandarins and mandarin leaves from 2PH; pork from CQ Golden Pigs and Piggy in the Middle; beef from Southern Cross Beef; garlic from Myana, macadamias from Marquis; Mung beans, chickpeas, peanuts, popcorn from growers Aaron and Carly Kiely; honey from Top End Pollination.

If you’d like to try some of our region’s produce, call into the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald to purchase Like Mum Used to Make items, Fair Dinkum Meats stocks Southern Cross Beef and Top End Pollination honey is available at the Emerald IGA. The website growninthecentralhighlands.com.au also has a detailed list of our region’s produce, how to access it and its seasonality.

VIP guests were Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner; Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Director General Dr Beth Woods; and State Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar.

Attendees also included senior representatives from various Queensland Government departments, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Queensland Farmers Federation, Qantas, Local Government Association of Queensland, Grain Corp and Brisbane Markets.

CHDC Chief Executive Officer Sandra Hobbs congratulated her team, producers and the Blackbird Bar and Grill on delivering an exceptional event during such challenging times.

“The guests were really impressed and excited by what our region is achieving and delivering in the agricultural space,” Ms Hobbs says.

“The feedback was especially rewarding given the extra work that was involved to implement rigorous COVID-19 procedures and the shorter time frame to organise the event around the changing restrictions.”

The menu was designed by Blackbird Chef Jake Nicolson and Executive Chef Anthony Donaldson. The menu card, which includes producer information, can be found at chdc.com.au.

Tribute was also paid to Ms Hobbs, who is retiring later this month after 11 years at the helm of CHDC, and CHDC Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander, who is leaving the organisation for a new role.

CHDC hosts Farm to Fine Dining in partnership with the Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) and local agribusinesses as part of ongoing work to enhance and expand the local agricultural industry.

This year’s event implemented strict COVID Safe practices, including social distancing measures. All guests completed a COVID Safe form, seating was restricted to six guests per table (regulations allow eight), and entrées and dessert were served as stand-up courses.

The Central Highlands Regional Agribusiness Stocktake (November 2019) shows the region delivers approximately $1 billion in agricultural value. The Stocktake can be accessed at chdc.com.au.

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