One of the most evident themes in hospitality today is the growing interest in the provenance of our food, where it comes from and how far it has travelled to reach us.
As consumers, we’re not only interested in our local area, but food tourism is one of the main activities of travellers. After all, we all need to eat, so why not enrich the experience by finding out about the local area we are visiting! Dining locally, embarking on a food tour, attending local markets and finding out about local producers are all ways we can find out about local fare when we travel.
Table Under a Tree was recently recognised as the best new tourism business in the 2019 North Coast Regional Tourism Awards for food experiences which champion the Northern Rivers’ smaller, artisan producers.
“We wanted to support local farmers, connecting the people who make food with the people who eat it. We’re based on a ‘farmer to diner’ concept, promoting local food from small scale artisan producers and running food tours,” says Georgina Inwood, who launched the company late in 2018.
“The business is based on three principles: provenance – as a beneficial support for local artisan produce, a positive experience allowing visitors to experience local food, and convenience with ‘ready to cook’ meal pods supplied to accommodation.”
Mostly, gourmet meal pods are delivered directly to accommodation across the Northern Rivers for you to enjoy. Packs range from ready-to-cook meals or BBQ packs to serve four people, to snack meals and wine, all sourced from local producers.
Personally, we have experienced two different services from Table Under a Tree: a ‘Sundowners’ pack presented as a self-catering picnic, and an all-inclusive meal kit to cook at home.
“Our pods have all the ingredients and instructions needed to prepare an amazing meal. You can enjoy a meal that ticks lots of boxes. It’s local, it’s seasonal and you’ve made it yourself,” Georgina says.
She’s right! Our pod arrived in a cold pack, each ingredient separately packaged, with easy-to-follow instructions for the recipe. While the provenance is clearly noted, the Table Under a Tree website gives lots more information about each supplier, such as Brooklet Springs Farm who raised the chicken used in our Harissa Chicken pack, as well as where to buy the products. https://tableunderatree.com.au/producers/brooklet-springs-farm/
We found the dish easy to prepare and that evening we used it as part of a meal we served to international guests, leading into conversations about our visits to several of the local producers featured in the pack.
On another occasion, in near perfect weather, we took part in a small producers’ bus tour of the Northern Rivers. At noon, we gathered for a rural setting lunch featuring local produce assembled and presented by Table Under a Tree.
Dining from a cold pack pod as a picnic lunch, we saw products from farms we had visited that morning as well as many other products from the area including dips from Baraka Gourmet Foods, a selection of cheeses from Cheeses Loves You, fish rillettes from The Bay Smokehouse and bespoke ice cream from Teven Valley Farm. Our lunch was accompanied by Symphony Hill wine from the Granite Belt and local Stone & Wood Pacific Ale.
For those who don’t fancy cooking, but still want to experience the region, Table Under a Tree offers small group farm tours exploring the villages, roadside stalls, farms and foodie hot-spots of the region, as well as guided tours of two of the area’s most popular farmers markets, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.
“The best thing about any of our tours is getting to know the people behind the produce. Our suppliers and producers are real people who work hard doing what they love, whether raising cattle, growing macadamias or producing an artisan bush food preserve,” Georgina adds.
Table Under a Tree‘s range of experiences has a clear aim: to connect visitors to the produce of the region and to help them get to know the people behind this incredible food.
“It helps you to see that it’s not just some meat or a fresh veggie on your plate when you order something at a restaurant or buy something at a market. It’s the work of someone who really nurtures their land, their livestock and the community around them,” says Georgina.
Table Under a Tree, 251 Rosebank Rd., Rosebank NSW Ph: 0451 626 906