No matter which direction you’re coming from, it’s the hand-drawn signs and ‘honour boxes’ on the side of our country roads, that offer you clues to one of the biggest preoccupations of the folk in this beautiful region of ours. These may spruik potatoes or other freshly harvested fruit and vegetables, eggs, honey, preserves, compost, and even animal manure. “Local organic horse poo” proclaims one regular sign near a stack of well-filled bags. You stop the car, drop the notes and coins in the honour box and fill your boot. In season there might be punnets of blackberries, chestnuts, mushrooms, bunches of wild daffodils, and fruit windfalls gathered by kids for a bit of pocket money But primarily they signal a property where people are in the business of small scale agriculture of some kind. For an increasing number, it represents the family’s primary source of income as well as a determination and passion to succeed as a producer and grower within a sustainable agriculture model. Regenerative farming is alive and well in our ‘hood.
Good Food means so many different things to different people. Nowadays with the emphasis on health and our natural immunity that 2020 has brought with it, many are increasingly cautious about the source of their food. It’s a real pleasure to see and it might just be one of the silver linings and a lasting legacy of this difficult time. There’s a laudable desire to reconnect with the source of one’s food and importantly to be involved in the conversation about good nutrition and health for ourselves and our families.
Our own ethos at Lake House has always been to ask “where”, “what”, “who” and “how” about the produce we source and to share the answers with our guests… We now also have the added bonus of our own farm, just down the road. Dairy Flat Farm supplies much of our produce and bakes bread for all our operations. Apart from the opportunity to stay there, guests are regularly offered tours and workshops at the property. It’s gratifying to see interest in this kind of activity on the rise.
Using or buying local offers the likelihood of knowing more about your food. If you are eating out, certainly many of our restaurants and cafés here, quote the source of their produce. If you are staying in self-contained accommodation – head to the local farmers’ markets (there’s at least one somewhere in the region every weekend), buy up the beautiful fresh produce, and take the opportunity to even have a chat with the grower or their family.
The small community-based food market at the old Daylesford Railway Station (every Sunday) is a good case in point. There, (at the very least) you’ll find Adsum Farmhouse; Mt Franklin Organics, Goldfields Cheeses, Two Fold Bake House, Brooklands Free Range farm (pastured British White beef and Black Berkshire pork), as well as fresh produce, bread, and pastries from our own Dairy Flat Farm.