Kalbar’s Gems aren’t just the Sunflowers

Published by Anna Morrow, April 27, 2022

Some things just leave you in awe… one of the things that comes to our mind is the breathtaking view of the Kalbar Sunflowers at sunset. Another, is the wonderfully diverse local producers and businesses of the Scenic Rim.

Cuisine on Cue had the absolute pleasure of being the catering partner for the second ever Kalbar Sunflower Festival Sunset Dinner and despite some rain, the atmosphere was shining! As soon as we found out that we were catering this phenomenal event it was our passion project to celebrate local vendors in every bite of the menu.  We strived to not only provide delicious food for the event, but we also really wanted to create and grow relationships with local producers and suppliers. From the starters to dessert, we cultivated dairy, meats, milk, vegetables and all sorts from around Kalbar’s township, countryside and neighbours.

OUR LOCAL VENDORS

Kay at Tommerup Dairy provided the creamy, delicious Jersey Girl butter and true pastured egg yolks. Tommerup Dairy is a 6th generation family farm that offers a range of high quality, small scale products produced with the utmost respect for their land and their animals.

Summer Land Camels aims to build a sustainable industry that harnesses the incredible potential of these beautiful animals, that represent the hardships and spirited nature of the early cameleers, and who have been embraced by indigenous communities of Australia. Their farm, situated in the volcanic crater of the Scenic Rim, produces a range of diverse products including the Camel milk that we used within several items of our menu. They are a bespoke business and have created an emerging product in the food industry.

Kane, from The Butcher Co., is an entrepreneur and provided the Angus beef for one of our mouth-watering main courses. The Butcher Co. is run by Kane and his wife Ashleah who breed and raise cattle on the family property at Aratula. Kane also sourced local pork from the Neuendorf family’s piggery at Kalbar for our other delicious main course, as well as, the custom made chipolatas and the pork for the cured hog. 

Another local to note is Gen from Scenic Rim Farm Box. This business is a collaborative relationship between farmers and the Scenic Rim Regional Council that is helping to connect producers with individuals from the city to the coast and all over the Scenic Rim. Helping bring the ‘farm to you’. Scenic Rim Farm Box connected us to Joyce’s Gold Heritage Poultry for the succulent free-range chicken in our appetiser.

Last but not least we have to shout out to the sunflower honey which is another ingenious idea from the Jenner’s. The honey is produced from the previous years sunflowers and was a delight we couldn’t wait to highlight in so many of our dishes!

THE SUNFLOWERS

It all started with three sunflowers from Woolies. Yes, that’s right, Woolies sunflowers. Jenny and Russell were originally cultivating lucerne on about half of their 200 acres of land and using water from their few bores. After brainstorming other crops to try their hand at and coming to no promising conclusions, they felt like they were running out of both water and ideas… Until Russell bought Jenny three sunflowers from Woolies and thought ‘hang on, why don’t we grow these?’ 

They did their research and realised the idea was a sound one; sunflowers are hardy crops, they can be sold ornamentally, the seeds harvested for eating and the plants themselves plowed and their nutrients returned to the soil. After experimenting with several different varieties of sunflowers they were ready to commit about 15 acres to their new crop.

The couple noticed that after the Covid-19 border closures there was an increase in domestic tourism, and saw the Kalbar hay sculptures were successful in building community spirit and drawing visitors and they wanted a part of that excitement. The Jenners’ put forward a proposal to the Kalbar Progress Association for an open day and they ran with it…

This Sunflower Festival is an absolute ‘must do’ and the commotion it has created for not only the Jenner’s’, but also Kalbar, is beautifully exciting! With 400,000 blooming sunflowers for hundreds of visitors to roam in, take photos, have picnics, paint and do yoga amongst, this year’s festival has been one to remember. We are so honored to have been part of this treasure of an event and we can’t wait for next year’s glorious festival and hope to meet and feature even more local businesses and products in the future!

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