Venison, sea urchins, blackberries and dandelions were just some of the delicacies available for consumption at the inaugural Feral Forage and Feast in Bruthen on Sunday, May 5.
The event reinvented these ‘pests’ as culinary masterpieces and celebrated the boundary-pushing food industry gaining pace in East Gippsland.
East Gippsland is the natural food-bowl of Australia, producing an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and wild seafood in demand from some of the hospitality industry’s finest chefs. However, the local agricultural and fishing industries often find themselves at odds with introduced ‘pest’ species including deer, blackberries and rabbit.
The event was part of a series of innovative and boundary-pushing food events held over the past eight months – the third event in the series.
East Gippsland marketing manager Hayley Hardy said it was a great day.
“It was wonderful to see workshop attendees really engaged, stall holders busy not just selling but talking to visitors about their product and visitors enjoying the food and beer from the Bruthen Inn,” she said.
Sailor’s Grave Spring Farmhouse Ale was flowing at Bruthen Inn Hotel and live music from local musician Matthew Bentley kept everyone entertained throughout the afternoon.
More than 200 event-goers learnt how to get creative with “agricultural enemies” through presentations and workshops run by local artisans and chefs
Workshops that ran on the day included discussion on wild deer and the uses of venison, a showcase of native foods that can be used in everyday cooking, an introduction to permaculture and a showcase of the use of sea urchin.
Mallacoota local Jodie York won the wild conserve-making competition with her blackberry jam, with Gippsland Unwrapped’s Tammy Logan coming a close second with a blackberry and apple conserve. There were plenty of stalls to explore including permaculture, heritage eggs, information about keeping chickens, arts community information, gourmet mushrooms and snail caviar, honey tastings, face painting, venison pizzas, hand-made soaps, deodorant and other body products made with camel, buffalo and goat’s milk and stall demonstrating how people can live completely waste-free.
The event was hosted by East Gippsland Marketing in partnership with East Gippsland Food Cluster, Destination Gippsland and East Gippsland Shire Council and was supported the Commonwealth Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.