A tornado of a week Part 1


I was offline most of last week bunkered down in Sydney with some bright minds looking at innovative ways to fund Art4Agriculture over the next 5 years but more about that later

Lots of Archies

The week started with an early morning call from ABC Illawarra to do some press generated by this story in the Illawarra Mercury on the roll out of the Archibull Prize on the South Coast,

Archibull Prize Illawarra mercury

I for one m very excited to have local schools involved this year   

From there it was off to Sydney to NSW Farmers HQ for the official opening of their new offices in St Leonards and a great night was had by all. On show at NSWFA HQ are two of our Archies and wow did they spend some time in the spotlight


‘Sweetie Pie’ with NSW Farmers CEO Matt Brand

Smiling Faces NSW Farmers opening Katrina Hodgkinson Fiona Simson and Andrew Stoner

Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP Fiona Simson President NSW FA and Hon Andrew Stoner Deputy Premier cut the ribbon

Jules 2

Jamison High “Jules” on display in the foyer

Lots of controversy

Then there was the controversy around the results at the Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show

the big cheese 2

Having spent three days as a steward at the show the previous week what I can say is the judges take their roles very seriously. The addition of iPads to tally the results was very impressive and certainly added a new dimension to the judging process

Cheese Judging Ipads

If anybody doubts the RAS dedication to the process of getting it right just come and watch the Haloumi judged. Each piece is cut to exactly the same size and fried for exactly the same amount of time and three stewards on hand to ensure each entry is presented to the judges in perfect continuity. I must admit I felt a bit under pressure for that one  


Getting ready for the judging of the best non-bovine dairy product


For all cheese lovers check out Channel Cheese TV here

About Channel Cheese

Join cheesemonger Alison Brien as she goes behind-the-scenes and under-the-rind of the cheese world.

Alison was one of the judges at the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Show and I noticed she had her videographer there so you should see some insights into the judging process loaded on Channel Cheese TV shortly.


The week just continued to get more ‘interesting’ with the ACCC announcing it was launching an investigation into Coles and Woolworths over possible misuse of their market power and indications of “unconscionable conduct” in relation to deals with their suppliers. and on top of this a mini tornado hit our region last weekend with some devastating consequences  more on this in my next post

Guess who was on the radio this week

Its been a busy week at the farm with Michael and his brother Bill off to International Dairy Week in Shepparton with two of our cows. What was so rewarding about this show trip was for the first time in years Michael had enough strength in his knee to actually lead his cattle in the ring and nobody was more happy about this than Michael . 

Meanwhile I got back into the swing of things for Art4Agriculture for 2013. The week started with the launch of the 2013 Archibull  Prize on ABC Illawarra

Young Eco Champion Megan Rowlatt and I popped into ABC Illawarra offices in Wollongong on our way to Chatswood to hook up with the team from Landcare Australia for an interview with the very charming Justin Huntsdale

You can read what we had to say here and hear the audio version by playing the YouTube clip here 

Nothing like being in the studio – Justin and Megan test the audio

Later in the week I caught up with the Art4Ag team at the new offices of Event Directors in St Leonards.

Event Directors at St Leonards

Event Directors in St Leonards

We spent the day putting the final touches on the exciting new direction Art4Agriculture is taking in 2013 to ensure we can source funding to train as many Young Farming Champions and get the story of Australian agriculture into as many schools as possible.                                              Watch this space 

Whilst in St Leonards we took the opportunity to visit the new headquarters of NSW Farmers where we caught up with some of the NSW Farmers ream including Danica Leys and Brianna Casey

Danica Leys @ NSW Farmers St Leonards

Danica Leys is the Senior Industrial Relations Advisor at NSW Farmers as well as the  2012 NSW/ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award winner and cofounder of the most successful rural social media movement in Australia, #AgChatOZ.

As you would expect the Art4Ag team are discerning diners and we take every opportunity to see what local chefs are doing with the fine Australian produce our farmers grow. Here are some highlights from our two days in Sydney  

In St Leonards we discovered the delightful Wooden Whisk 

Wooden Whisk

where I had the Breakfast Grazing Board whilst the team dined on

brioche french toast with fresh banana, strawberry, mascarpone (sans) and maple syrup and the parma ham plate .

Also at St Leonards we were recommend the Moody Chef.

Moody Chef

On the left hand side of the photo you see the quaint touch of all the herbs growing in pots

Salmon and Avocado Moody Chef

This was my lunch and they did the salmon and avocado farmers proud

A special treat was dinner at the Star where we dined at Black by Ezard overlooking Darling Harbour


I had the LAMB RACK with  mustard, herb and black olive crust, house made dry spiced
fresh curd, zucchini, eggplant caviar and lamb jus. It wasn’t cheap but it was divine

Lamb at Black by Ezard 

I asked where my lamb came from. Sadly the waiter didn’t know and the kitchen couldn’t enlighten him. Hopefully next time when another restaurant patron asked the same question they will have the answer



The OCEAN TROUT with crushed spring peas, bacon, caramelised pearl
onion, heirloom carrots, pea and wasabi sauce looked awesome as well and I am told it was

The Pièce de résistance was this delightful morsel which we shared. My only disappointment was I didn’t think to film the pouring process where the hot sauce is spread all over the chocolate ball and it melts and blends into this divine layer on the plate  


CHOCOLATE with Warm couverture ganache, dulce de leche ice cream, peanut butter mousse

Black by Ezard is a lovely restaurant with wonderful food and service and I was curious to see so many American wines on the wine list and I asked why. The waiter told me it was their point of difference. Personally I would like to think in the future they may consider listing all the names of their farmers suppliers and using this as their point of difference.

BTW we had lovely Australian bubbles and pinot gris to help us enjoy our superb meals