Rocky setting its sights on becoming a foodie capital

BUY LOCAL: Organic farm owner Ross O'Reilly and farm manager Sean Clarke know savvy consumers are seeking locally grown produce.
BUY LOCAL: Organic farm owner Ross O'Reilly and farm manager Sean Clarke know savvy consumers are seeking locally grown produce. Contributed

FOODIE culture is all the buzz these days.

Rockhampton Regional Council is looking at ways it can harness this growing consumer movement to unlock CQ's fertile lands to see fresh grown produce appearing on the tables of our local restaurants.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said food culture was clearly a growing movement and where the world was going.

"People are looking for really local experiences and really local produce,” Cr Strelow said.

"This is about local restaurants using locally grown produce and it all fits in with that generational change that we're seeing, that generation that care where their food came from, who are very conscious of pesticides, care about food miles and want variety.

"How powerful were some of those elements at the River Festival? There was Baffle Creek beer that was very popular.”

Cr Strelow said the region had excellent growing potential with a lot of good untapped land and plentiful water stocks available.

"We've got areas like Alton Downs and Pink Lily that have historically been very fertile growing areas for small crops for us and probably the last 30 or 40 years they've ceased to play that role,” she said.

"Those are the things we need to support and grow again.

"It's almost a reversal of all of the big scale stuff that has characterised a lot of food production for the last 20 or 30 years.

"We've already got some work that we're doing.”

She said the council's economic development team had already begun meeting with some of the people who are doing various small crops to understand what opportunities there might be and whether they could get portable water to their properties.

"There are people who could grow things if they had town water or if they had piped untreated water, depending on their produce,” she said.

Cr Strelow said having a broader offering of fresh small crops would be the perfect match for Rockhampton's Beef Capital title.

Capricorn Coast businessman Ross O'Reilly is already capitalising on the movement towards growing and sourcing local produce.

His organic farm realised his dream to provide fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables for his restaurant Beaches at Rosslyn Bay Resort with a menu featuring food "only five minutes away” from the farm.

Topics:  alton downs food culture foodie margaret strelow rockhampton regional council

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