Waurn Ponds Estate has partnered with Kinsfolk Farm to supply organically grown fruit and vegetables for use in the beautifully crafted seasonal menu. Adam, Josh and Katherine talk to Bridie and Tom from Kinsfolk about working partnerships with the farm.
How important is your relationship with chefs and restaurants, in terms of them liaising with you and asking you what you know and what’s coming up in the season and what you are growing? Also, you asking them what they like to use? And let them sort of take note of what you’re growing and let that influence what they’re cooking and so forth? It’s a bit of a two-way highway, I would imagine, for benefit of both.
It’s definitely a two-way street there, in terms of chefs educating us with the types of produce that they would like to work with, and then us then educating back to the chefs and the restaurants in terms of saying what’s really good this season or what doesn’t work in our climate or maybe isn’t economical for us to grow. The conversation and constant communication is really important, especially because there’s always something to know about what’s happening on the farm.
We always like to try and grow one or two interesting things, new things, every season and we can learn all that from you guys, because you’ve got your heads in, in that sort of industry and we love that. We love being able to know about other things that we don’t necessarily know or can’t find out within our community. Yeah, so the relationship is really important, and the communication we definitely value.
What’s in season now, and what should our chefs be putting on the menu?
The last couple of weeks of October and the first couple of weeks of November, generally, what we have coming up now, is things like lots of different greens. This is a broccoli leaf that we sell a lot of that’s looking really lovely at the moment and lots of different baby root vegetables. Things like carrots don’t really come in until late November, maybe mid-November depending on the season. Garlic is generally harvested around the end of November, the start of December, although we don’t grow a whole heap of that ourselves. Then things like herbs. Lots of greens, lots of herbs, lots of young root vegetables, is generally what we grow.
Things like broad beans and asparagus are definitely early spring favourites. That’s not really something that we grow, but they’re also awesome and very much in season at the moment.
With you guys choosing to grow what you do grow, is that influenced by the way that you like to cook at home, what you guys were sort of cooking in Melbourne and wanted to grow down here? Is that the catalyst of growing what you do, or is it driven by the chefs wanting things?
Fortunately, when we moved to this area, Moriac, there was a significant gap in the market for organic vegetables. There are two main markets that we sell to, one being the Torquay Farmers Market, which didn’t have any organic vegetable-growers selling there. So that, to start with, was a really strong market to work with.
Then, of course, with Geelong having a bit of a boom, there was a lot of restaurants that started popping up, and as soon as we sent our first email out, all the chefs jumped on board. So, being able to sell to places like Waurn Ponds Estate has been really beneficial. It also allows us to grow and branch out and grow not just your staple veg that everyone buys at the grocer. We’ve been able to grow lots of different flowers and herbs and experiment a lot more. It gives us that creativity which has been really fun for us as well.