For most foodies sourcing fresh local produce direct from the farmer is akin to trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. This was until the emergence of ‘farmer meets foodie’, a service which according to creator Erica Hughes, “Bridges the gap between the farm gate and the kitchen bench”.
Currently ‘farmer meets foodie’ connects these two groups via a number of means including an active closed Facebook group, other social media sites and a blog which Erica updates sporadically.
Whilst percolating for a while Erica says, “The idea came from a number of places. Initially I watched friends who run a café in Mount Molloy near Mareeba trying to source fresh local produce to use in store. They are open six days a week and spend their ‘day off’ trying to find all the ingredients to use for the following week”.
The final impetus for ‘farmer meets foodie’ came at a Rural Women’s event. Erica says, “At the time Leandra Norman, who is passionate about using local produce, asked me to introduce her to some farmers who I thought were really well know. When someone in the industry who uses a lot of local produce didn’t know them, I knew we had to make better connections between farmers and foodies”.
Whilst Erica is taking a staged approach to the ‘farmer meets foodie’ concept there is definitely a lot of interest in what she has done so far. “I’ve lived on remote cattle stations and worked in agriculture for quite a while now so I know what is available in the region and the value of connecting. We are getting more and more people connecting on Facebook which is great but I don’t think it goes far enough”.
“The next step for us is creating an online interactive platform where farmers and foodies register and connect. Foodies will be able to see in one convenient place what’s available week by week and farmers will have easy access to another market locally”, says Erica.
The online interactive platform is set to launch soon and will be aimed at connecting commercial food producers such as cafes, restaurants and caterers to the plethora of fresh produce available in North Queensland.
As Erica says, “After that who knows where it will lead”?