The Native Collection

There’s a conservation revolution going on just south of the border.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of Mt Warning, Green Cauldron Farm at Tyalgum is the epicentre of Katie and James Geralds’ business, promoting sustainable agriculture, minimal food waste and resilience. Purchasing the farm, which included edible native orchards, the goal was to showcase their own produce, support local farmers and to seek out new and innovative crops, creating products to support their growth.

But all is not equal in the world of produce so, to value add, the couple began Caldera Fine Foods, using their high quality yet unsaleable produce, especially Australian native ingredients, sold under The Native Collection label and including edible flowers in their crop, first introduced for natural pest control, sold under the Bloom label.

It’s a case of ‘Use it or lose it’ for Australian native foods. If we don’t use our botanicals here, then other countries will take up the challenge to do so.

James cites the example of macadamia nuts, an Australian native nut that has been claimed by the world as their own.

We are fortunate, James says to have finger limes and Davidson plums endemic to the area. Sunrise lime is a citrus developed by CSIRO from finger lime and cumquat mandarin.

Employing a fulltime chef to work with them, Katie and James’ The Native Collection includes cocktail syrups, confits, kimchi, pickles, preserves, honeys and sugars ready to use in restaurants, bars and households. All the products are made from ingredients, as many as possible sourced from the Northern Rivers region.

You’ll find the syrups used in cocktails at restaurants such as Rosella’s, Balboa, Avvia, Osteria, Bombay Cricketers Club and Taverna, Lucky Bao, The North Room and Cocotte.

“Our main goal is to make native produce a refined product. We want to reinvent native cuisine so that it becomes accessible to everyone, used every day on their tables. We’d love to see Sunrise Lime conserve, Finger lime marmalade and Davidson plum jam as familiar items on breakfast and afternoon tea tables and used on grazing boards,” James tells us.

The range also showcases more exotic native produce such as pepperberry (infused into native honey) and lilly pilly.

Already, less than a year in operation, the couple are well on their way, Caldera Fine Foods being awarded two bronze medals at the 2019 Australian Food Awards!

Ironically, the drive to put native ingredients into our home kitchens is led by two world travellers, Katie and James settling in Australia only eight years ago, rather than by Aussies born here, showing us how much we take our own cuisine for granted!

“Getting together is a communal event, promoting conversations about food and where it comes from,” Katie says. “It’s time for Australian native food to stand up on the world stage.”

We couldn’t agree more.

NOTE: Some photos provided by Caldera Fine Foods.