Our Food Challenge
The Two Girls are great champions of Tasmania and our food. Over the
last three years we've talked about food, eaten it, bought it, written about it
and adored it.
Tasmanian food has been evolving over the last twenty years, from flake
and chips and dodgy cafe lattes to an amazing array of gourmet food produced by
passionate Tasmanians: salmon, garlic, saffron, truffles, whiskey, cider, goat,
lamb, etc etc etc.
Tasmanian food has grown up and it's now premiering on the world stage,
known for several unique characteristics:
- ethical and sustainable - prepared by producers who care for the
environment that produced the food.
- artisan - it is niche produce, prepared by artisans, admired for their skill and the
food they produce is the centre of attraction when it's eaten.
- raw - accentuating minimalist preparation to capture the essence of the natural product
- local - in Tasmania, you know where your food is from
- the environment - underpinning our prosperity and experience
- the island experience - incorporating the lessons we've learnt from our inevitable sojourns translated into our island experience.
This food is now part of our island identity. Banners lining Holyman
Avenue to the airport say ‘Harvested here’, ‘Served here’, ‘Born here’,
One thing that is really important about Tasmanian food is the
connection between the paddock and the plate or the plate and the place.
When you eat Tasmanian food it's possible to know where the animal or
the vegetable came from, the care and respect with which it was farmed, and the
craft behind its construction.
While we've come a long way we have a challenge.
How do we make this wonderful food affordable?
We're in danger of becoming a two-gear food society. All this wonderful
premium food is in danger of becoming inaccessible to most Tasmanians.
The Two Girls have blogged around two recent establishments committed to localism but at risk of a tourist price point (see Three Japanese and the Providore by Ethos).
How can we expect most Tasmanians who have low to moderate incomes to
appreciate this modern expression of Tasmania's culture if they never have the financial
wherewithal to afford it.
If Tasmania is going to continue to prosper, all Tasmanians need to
benefit from its prosperity. We need as many Tasmanians growing, making,
cooking, eating, selling and enthusiastically promoting our premium brand as possible.
The answers aren't easy. But we might be beginning to see the way
forward through how two industries are handling the same issue.
The crayfish industry is experiencing huge interest from China and the
price is now over $100 per kilo. This is not a new problem because the price of cray
has made its purchase inaccessible to most of us for years. Ironically as our food
becomes famous the world over Tasmanians will be priced out of their own
For the first time ever, one of our leatherwood honey producers has sold
out. Leatherwood is a rich strongly flavoured honey which the bees harvest in
Tasmania’s pristine wilderness.
This producer has reserved some of the harvest to ensure locals can get
honey at a reasonable price locally even though they can sell many more jars
What we need is every food industry to recognise that by making premium
food accessible to locals they build a community of supporters that will ensure
their industry thrives into the future.
On crayfish prices and leatherwood honey supplies.