North Queenslanders have been urged to back the region’s farmers and food producers by buying delicious local produce.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the region produced some amazing foods, and locals could support thousands of local jobs by buying local and joining the Queensland Government’s #eatqld campaign.
“Produce from Queensland’s vibrant and robust agriculture sector enjoys a well-earned global reputation as safe and nutritious and is synonymous with our lifestyle,” Mr Furner said.
“When you have a great meal of local produce from North Queensland, snap it, share it and don’t forget to use the hashtag #eatqld .
Mr Furner today visited Brothers Leagues Club in Townsville, where chef Scott Chandler uses a wide range of local produce to create fantastic meals for locals.
“Whether it Pineapples from Rollingstone, capsicum from Gumlu near Bowen or watermelon from Black River, this club is supporting the region’s growers and reaping the benefits with top quality produce,” Mr Furner said.
Mr Chandler, the Clubs Queensland chef of the year, said he tried to use local produce whenever possible.
“Our local fruit and vegetable supplier Simon George & Sons Townsville source 70 to 75 local farmers between Rockhampton and the Atherton Tablelands,” he said.
“With this we get better quality, better shelf life and support for local farmers.
“Our barramundi we get from just down the road in Bowen from the Coral Coast Barra Farm and our fresh prawns are caught locally from the waters around Magnetic Island.
“Our menu changes with the seasons and we use seasonal produce which ensures we are using the freshest products available.”
Brothers chief executive officer Justin Wilkins said the club worked closely with suppliers to make sure the best local produce was on offer for members and visitors.
“Maintaining a consistent high quality is important and you need to be meeting regularly with your suppliers and talking with your kitchen team to ensure this is ongoing,” Mr Wilkins said.
“I think to be a successful food operation you have to provide a variety from your tried and true basics such as the good old faithful schnitzel, steaks and some fancier or different dishes that are not your everyday offerings that you have at home,” Mr Wilkins said.
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said supporting local growers was good for employment.
“We know that when you support local growers and local food businesses you are supporting local jobs,” Mr Harper said.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said North Queensland had an outstanding reputation for quality produce.
“We are known for clean, green produce that tastes fantastic, and that reputation is growing globally with the rising number of the region’s growers exporting what they grow,” Mr Stewart said.
Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said supporting buying local produce would be a shot in the arm for local producers who were recovering from the recent flood disaster across North Queensland.
“There is one way you can support our farmers – buy their magnificent local produce and share it on social media with the hashtag #eatqld “.
Mr Furner said the #eatqld campaign had already drawn support from Clubs Queensland and the RNA, and Woolworths had come on board as a partner in the program.
Launching the campaign last month, Woolworths Queensland General Manager Matthew Franich said the supermarket would be supporting the campaign by putting a spotlight on great local produce via their Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tour program.
“We’re proud to offer our customers great Queensland produce. Equally important is educating the next generation around the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables,” Mr Franich said
“In the past few months more than 25,000 Queensland school students have taken part in our Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tours in our stores.
“To support the #eatqld campaign we will be adding a further local flavour to the program from term two, with our teams highlighting to students the Queensland regions where various fruit and veg comes from as they take part in the tours.”