Highlands producers win 2018 Delicious Produce Awards

The Highlands’ fresh, ethical and delicious produce has been noted as some of the best in the state. 

Five Highlands producers have been announced as state winners in the 2018 delicious. Produce Awards. 

Moonacres Farm, Li Sun Mushrooms, Pecora Dairy, Redleaf Farm and Taluca Park were announced as winners in either the From the Earth or From the Dairy categories. 

Judged by some of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs, the awards are a highlight on the foodie calendar and have catapulted previous winners onto the menus of both top chefs and home cooks alike.

delicious. editor-in-chief Kerrie McCallum said this year new, innovative and consistently outstanding produce claimed the top spots. 

“Each year our state judging panels sit around tables across the country and taste their way through hundreds of nominations, debating the most worthy winners for their state,” she said. 

“In 2018 we continue to celebrate new, innovative, native and consistently outstanding Australian ingredients grown, caught, sourced or produced with dedication, passion, knowledge and regard for the environment.

Moonacres Farm, founded in 2006 by Phil Lavers, was announced as a From the Earth winner for NSW. 

Though always interested in quality and organic produce, Mr Lavers had next to no farming experience when he began planting on the 140-acre property near Fitzroy Falls.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “I used to go to the Burrawang pub to ask for advice. There’s nothing more exciting to a bunch of half-tanked guys than a bogged tractor.”

It’s been a process of trial and error to get Moonacres where it is today, but Mr Lavers has relished the challenge.

“There’s no excitement in the easy work,” he said. “Take the bad stuff, the waste, your failures; compost it. Then use it to grow, to nourish your future. 

“There’s a good lesson for life in there too.”

Growing fruit and vegetables without chemicals is vital to Moonacres’ aim of growing the best tasting produce available. 

Its organic certification is more than a label, with everything on the farm done to nurture the land, so the soil becomes more productive over time, as well as a firm commitment to running an ethical business. 

“Everything from the soil to the truck driver delivering the produce is looked after,” Mr Lavers said.

“Winning this award is a fantastic thumbs up to people like me working the land, doing the best we can to nurture and look after the soil, and producing the best tasting fruit and veggies possible.”

The state winners’ produce will be blind-tasted by a national panel of judges who decide the overall category winners, to be revealed at a special event in Sydney on August 13.