Various images above courtesy of Craig Kinder Food Photography, Violet Millieri and Tracey Cotterell
Join Tracey and Anthony Cotterell with a local Southern Forests Food Council guide to explore our very own gem, 300km’s from our very own urban doorstep. This is a winter getaway that will be truly memorable. A genuine experience.
Maybe it’s the clear, crisp air. Or the extraordinary fertility of the soils. Maybe it’s the 365 growing days a year. Or the purity of the rainfall. Or maybe it’s a combination of all these things. Truth is no-one knows for sure. One thing I do know is farmers put their lives into agriculture, country folk seem to have something special in their souls. You will love getting to know them as you discover the treasures they grow, the jobs they provide and their commitment to bring us the end user an exquisite array of nutritious food.
Whenever you break an egg for breakfast, break open broccoli into florets or cut an avocado in half to reveal the milky smooth flesh you’ll be eating the best the state has to offer, in fact possibly the best on offer, period.
This bespoke tour is a collaboration with Southern Forests Food Council and has been specifically designed for our group. We are so excited to be working with this wonderful initiative funded by Royalties for Regions. this not-for-profit organisation does such an excellent job. Some experiences are only accessible for our group due to the close relationship SFFC has with its’ members. This tour does require a moderate level of fitness, as walking around farms, pack houses and nature experiences are included. (You may even get the opportunity to climb a tree if you are game!)
As this tour is within Western Australia the package price includes travel by private bus to our destination as well as accommodation at the Kingsley Motel Manjimup which has recently undergone a smart new sparkly refit.
Whilst travelling through the Southern Forests on this tour, you will be taken past an incredible array of agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture properties producing potatoes, avocados, apples, stone fruit, dairy, sheep, cattle, marron, trout, vineyards and truff. all with the stunning natural backdrop of the towering karri and jarrah forests.
WELCOME LUNCH WITH SOUTHERN FORESTS FOOD COUNCIL
Your hosts for the lunch will be one of the team from the Southern Forests Food Council Inc. (SFFC), a not-for-profit organisation established to represent the interests of local producers, culinary and agri-tourism operators and to foster the Southern Forests’ status as one of the nation’s key food bowls and culinary tourism regions.
The Southern Forests’ produces over 50 different fruits and vegetables, truffles and boutique produce, dairy and cattle farms, as well as award-winning wineries, and exceptional culinary experiences. The Food Council is playing a critical role in unifying the areas diverse producers through the creation of the Genuinely Southern Forests regional brand.
You will receive your welcome pack, and be provided with a full overview of the region and what to expect over the next few days.
FRUIT & NUT ORCHARD EXPERIENCE
The temperate Mediterranean climate of the Southern Forests is ideally suited to producing high quality, great tasting fruits and vegetables which are supplied both domestically and internationally. Today you will visit the family-owned and operated farm, by the ultimate couple duo and their children (3rd and 4th generation).
The farm includes a variety of tree fruits including apples, avocados, sweet persimmons (fuyu fruit), feijoas, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. Here you’ll cruise around the farm in a purpose-built tractor and trailer, tasting the farms offering as you go. The perfect experience to kick start your tour.
DINNER AND WINE TASTING EXPERIENCE
Wine tasting like you haven’t experienced before. Owned and operated by a husband and wife duo, this farm produces fine cool climate wine grapes, premium potatoes, Angus beef and Labrador Retrievers. They planted their first grape vines in 1995, and now produce 70 hectares under full production including: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Tinto Cao Vermentino, Shiraz and Merlot.
These genuine down to earth producers, will welcome you around the table for a personable wine tasting experience, complimented by local Southern Forests foods. Pack your rain jacket and gum boots, for a wander through the vineyards. The 360-degree views are breathtaking!
ROASTING AND COFFEE
Kick start your morning with a cup of the Southern Forests’ finest coffee. Meet the roasters and learn the process of small batch coffee roasting in the heart of Manjimup.
Farming is a family affair in the Southern Forests, often with three or more generations working the land together. Matters of Taste Cooking School has already heard from one member of this family, during a lamb butchery class. Today you will meet the youngest member of the family who is taking the reins and working alongside his father on their mixed horticultural farm.
About 25 hectares is planted with cabbage, including red, Savoy, Chinese and megaton, plus broccoli, cauliflower, some beetroot and kale. The rest is under first-cross heifers, lamb and pasture-raised eggs, which are available through some outlets in Mandurah and Perth.
LUNCH & APPLE EXPERIENCE
The pristine and protected environment of the Southern Forests – original home of the world famous Pink Lady – allows apples to naturally develop a fantastic flavour profile and appearance. Experience a tour of the packhouse so you can understand the passion and process involved to get a crisp and tasty apple safely from the Southern Forests to your fruit bowl.
This will also be your opportunity to learn about the recently launched Bravo apple. Bred right here in Manjimup it’s dubbed the black apple, because of its dark burgany skin and crsispy white flesh. Following the apple experience, you will enjoy a lunch infused with locally grown produce.
The Diamond Tree is a 51m high karri tree on which a wooden cabin was built and used as a fire lookout tower from 1941 to 1974. It is one of three lookout trees in the Southern Forests and is the only wooden treetop tower in the world. Visitors can climb the tree to its extreme heights at your own risk – the view from the top is certainly worth the effort!
Your next stop will be to one of the region’s commercial aquaculture businesses, to meet some native freshwater critters, including marron. Marron is a fresh water crayfish native to the Southern Forests. The pristine waters offer an optimum growing environment for these crustaceans as they are extremely sensitive to water quality.
With several commercial scale marron farms in the region, you will see the sustainable farming operations in action that produce high quality, naturally harvested marron. Learn about how Southern Forests marron is supplied into restaurants, WA businesses and the general public.
LOCAL PRODUCE DINNER
This local restaurant prides itself on showcasing the quality and diversity of produce from this amazing region. Your evening will focus around introducing your tastebuds to some of the produce you will visit during your stay, as well as other tantalising tastes and genuine food and drink experiences.
After fueling up with a cup of coffee, you are off to a local farm, renown for producing apples, quinces, lemons and passionfruits. Stemming from their strong Macedonian heritage and years of farming knowledge, this hard working family produces some of the tasiest produce year after year. Depending on how the season is going, lemons may still be being harvested through August, providing you will an opportunity to enter the orchard and learn about this farms operations. When life gives you lemons, what do you make? Let us know in August!
Not so weather dependent and reliant on the season, is the farm fresh quince paste. Having recently starting producing quince paste, you will get to taste test the range!
With four generations living on the farm, growing and harvesting is a family affair. Husband and wife duo, together with their son and daughter in-law, produce avocados, tamarillos and honey on their Manjimup property. The family have produced close a tonne of tamarillos in their first year of harvest back in 2016. A relative small plantation with 200 trees, the season begins in May and runs through until September.
Today you will walk the orchard and learn about the tamarillo harvest. Not familiar with this fruit? That’s okay, this will be a good introduction and your opportunity to take some tamarillo’s back to Perth and into the kitchen!
After a busy morning, enjoy a quick bite to eat before setting off down the road for an afternoon delight.
CHEESE MAKING & DINNER EXPERIENCE
Enjoy a fun afternoon learning the art of cheese making. One local producer will be sharing his knowledge of cheese making passed down through the generations of his family. His family originated from Italy and have continued to make cheeses in Australia since the 1950’s.
Following your cheese making session, enjoy a smorgasbord of home grown and made sundried tomatoes, cheeses and salamis paired with award winning wines. As the afternoon progresses, the pizza oven will be cranked up for an early dinner.
PASTURED EGGS EXPERIENCE
You will have the opportunity to visit a local egg farm and learn about their pastured eggs and what makes them so special. They are more than just free range, these are pastured eggs. Which means the hens are continually moved around the pastures behind the cattle in a rotational style system regenerating the pastures as they go.
This is in an amazing model of modern day sustainable farming and is a must see. Husband and wife duo along with their two young sons produce some of the tastiest eggs in the region. Meet the hens and tour through the packing facility.
HISTORIC MILL TOWN & WILDLIFE EXPERIENCE
Donnelly River Village is a historic mill town nestled deep in the heart of the karri forests. The thirty-five workers cottages and other historic buildings were built in the 1950’s to support the on-site steam mill.
One of the village’s key charms are the tame kangaroos, emus, possums, kookaburras, magpies, parrots, blue wren and other wildlife that wander through the village, providing you with a chance to experience some of our region’s native wildlife at proximity.
LUNCH & HONEY EXPERIENCE
From the Donnelly River Village, you will continue west towards Nannup, for a casual lunch at one of the local honey farms. This second-generation family of Western Australian raw honey producers, passionate about producing a top quality organic product for your health and enjoyment – direct from petal to pot. They are primary producers of raw, organic, local honey, harvesting the seasonal tastes in the South West.
Before heading back towards Manjimup, you may visit a French style garden and 1,000 tree sweet chestnut farm, producing handmade gluten free sweet chestnut products, chestnut mustard, chestnut ice cream, chestnut ale and chestnut fed pork. Here you will meet the producer on a guided tour of the farm and taste some roasted chestnuts.
NATURE EXPERIENCE TIME PERMITTING AND WEATHER DEPENDENT
One of the region’s great natural wonders is the Four Aces – four towering karri trees naturally occurring in an evenly-spaced straight line in the midst of a beautiful karri forest in the One Tree Bridge Conservation Park. It is a great place to experience the incredible beauty and serenity of the forest surrounds.
A little further down the road, One Tree Bridge provides an insight into the history of the Manjimup area and the forest giants of the early settlers. One Tree Bridge is, as its name suggests, one giant karri tree felled in the early twentieth century to form a bridge for crossing the Donnelly River.
SEASONAL WINTER DINNER
Your last dining experience in the region is an absolute culinary gem of the Southern Forests. One renown chef, has created a unique and delicious destination which is home to a restaurant, cooking school, self-contained accommodation, and heirloom kitchen garden.
With a passion for fresh local produce, menus are prepared based on what is available seasonally whilst sharing with you the story behind what you eat.
TRUFFLE HUNTERS BREAKFAST AND EXPERIENCE
Visit the largest producer of Tuber Melanosporum, more commonly known as black truffle or Périgord truffle, in the southern hemisphere. Today you will learn how truffles are produced and harvested with the help of highly trained truffle dogs, and gain some understanding of how this gastronomic delicacy journeys from the paddock to your plate.
You will be able to delight your senses with a truffle-infused morning tea. Plus, you will have the opportunity to see the range of truffle products available and also taste the award winning wines at the onsite cellar door. We encourage you to experience the earthly delights of the rare and aromatic black truffle alongside the award-winning wines and fabulous food.
The tour concludes following the truffle experience and you will depart the region and travel back to Perth as a group in our private bus.
Tour price includes:
Tour price does not include:
PLEASE NOTE: All tour experiences are subject to natures seasonal weather and any change in operation of local businesses/suppliers.
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Please call us at the office on 9319 1097 if you have any questions, we’d be delighted to talk.
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