THE Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre was a hub of activity as a crowd gathered to savour the Tastes of the Lockyer fresh produce market day.
Celebrity chef Alastair McLeod and former Australian cricket star turned lifestyle guru Matthew Hayden gave cooking demonstrations before touring a small market made up of some of the Valley’s best producers.
A self confessed lover of Lockyer Valley grown vegetables, Alastair McLeod sources most of his ingredients from the region.
“I get all my cauliflower and broccoli from this region, and I like to be able to meet and know my suppliers personally,” he said.
“That is really important to me. As a cook you can buy everything from one supplier and have it back up in one truck but I see no value in that.
“I think you can taste the difference.
“The heart of good cooking is treating the best quality ingredients as simply as possible.”
When former Queensland Bulls and Australia opener Matthew Hayden visited the Lockyer Valley after flooding devastated the region in January, he was looking for some way to help.
“With the Lockyer Valley making up 70% of the salad bowl of Australia, it has been great to come out here and showcase what the Valley has to offer and to point out that it’s open for business,” he said.
“With the floods behind us, I was looking forward to using my voice in a positive way to help find was to encourage people to buy fresh vegetables from the Lockyer Valley, and it is very, very good produce.”
Grantham cauliflower, lettuce and cabbage producer Kirsty Harm said the market was a event that should be repeated more often.
“Farmers in this area have some of the best produce in Australia and it’s great to have the opportunity to show it off,” she said.
“People from outside the Valley have the opportunity to come and get some fresh vegies and actually meet the local farmers.”
As a flood affected producer, Ms Harm said the market day was a great chance to show the Lockyer Valley was open for business.
“It was pretty crazy at the beginning of the year, but the support from people here has been very positive,” she said.
Lockyer Valley Regional Mayor Steve Jones said the event, which featured individual producers and established businesses, was about showcasing the produce of the region.
“It has given people the chance to taste what we have to offer in what is one of the prime production areas in Australia,” he said.
“It has given the local producers a chance to show that the produce levels are where they were before the floods.
“On January 10 essentially everything was destroyed and production stopped.
“To show that we are right back to the top in just seven months is tremendous.”
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