The first About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom landed in Bermagui this week, based out of Julie Rutherford Real Estate we uncovered some of the untold stories of this town.
Kelly Eastwood from River Cottage Australia dropped in to share her plans for a deli and cooking school…
The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom is in #Bermagui upstairs at the harbour at Julie Rutherford Real Estate.This time chatting to Kelly Eastwood about her new deli and cooking school.Drop by with your story between now and 2pm.CheersIan
Longtime Bermagui fisherman Allan Broadhurst talked about his life on the ocean…
Can't come to #Bermagui and not talk to a real fisherman! Here's one – Allan Broadhurst.The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom at Julie Rutherford Real Estate.Drop by with your story before 2pm.Thanks for tuning in.Ian
And then there’s Bruce Frost, a life of volunteering, beekeeping and managing MS, one of the region’s great men…
The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom is at Julie Rutherford Real Estate, upstairs at #Bermagui Harbour until 2ish. Drop by and share your story.Chatting to Bruce Frost right now talking volunteering, beekeeping, life with MS, and who knows!Thanks for tuning in.Ian
The skill, passion, and beauty of these small communities was showcased to 17 countries across Asia and Eastern Europe.
Local people and their flair for food, the environment and each other became the star of the show – and generated terrific goodwill and prosperity beyond the TV production houses.
“There is no doubt the filming of 32 episodes of this national and international show has had a positive impact on the region in many ways,” says Sarah Cooper, Business Assistance Manager, Eurobodalla Shire Council.
“Aside from the immediate economic benefit that comes with a full TV crew filming for 3 months each year, there will be long-lasting effects,” Sarah says.
“The increased tourism in and around Tilba with visitors wanting to sample the ‘River Cottage Australia’ life has been a huge economic boost for the region and will be for some time.
“It’s been a four-year partnership with Council and the community, we will miss the show.” she says.
Paul West speaks with Ian Campbell about his plans for the future:
Paul West laughs as he remembers meeting viewers from Hungary on the main street of Central Tilba.
“If you have an eye for natural beauty, great communities, and that true regional character, then this is the best part of Australia,” Paul says.
The cooking and gardening program has also made a number of skilled locals ‘famous.’
As the show moved along Paul needed to call on expert advice, drawing on CWA cook Nelleke Gorton, farmer and felter Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins, Erica and Nic Dibden from South Coast Cheese and Tilba Milk, and mobile butcher Matt Christison, among many others.
Matt says the show has changed him.
“It’s been a huge buzz, the crew made me feel so welcome – they are great people.
“I was gutted when I heard the news, I will miss it. The Cooking School especially has been very satisfying,” he says.
Matt’s profile on the show has been good for his own business, which he’s very grateful for.
“Other’s have been inspired too, there are a lot more mobile butchers out there now,” Matt says.
While the show featured the recipes and gardening tips you’d expect, it was also known for showing regional life in all its colours, including the slaughter of farm animals.
As the one firing the gun and often cutting the throat of an animal, Matt says the reaction of viewers was interesting.
“I am very proud of that work,” Matt says.
“We showed how it can be done naturally and humanely.”
On the flipside, Matt says he’s disappointed his butcher jokes were cut from the show.
“I cracked every ‘meat’ joke there is, none of them made it to air,” he laughs.
Kelly Eastwood is another of the names tied to show reflecting on the positive impact it’s had and making new plans for the future.
Kelly says she’ll take the next month off and rest before jumping into anything new.
“There are lots of opportunities for good food here and I’ll be writing my cookbook over summer,” Kelly says.
“I believe so much in this region and I just want to show it off to the world.”
For Paul West, his wife Alicia, their 2-year-old boy and baby due early next year, River Cottage Australia lives on in many respects.
While the show might be hibernating, Paul’s passion for food is awake and kicking under the banner of Triangle Farm Tilba.
Over the last couple of months, Paul has been turning a grassy paddock on the Princes Highway, opposite the Dibden’s dairy farm, into a market garden.
“When you are making a TV show you do more TV making than you do food growing,” Paul says.
“Now that the TV show isn’t on the horizon, I want to do more food growing.
“I’ll be growing a variety of chemical free vegetables that I hope to sell into the Bermagui and Tilba farmers markets, and maybe I’ll get down to Bega as well, and supply a few hospitality businesses,” Paul says.
A pop-up food stall is also part of Paul’s thinking, but he’s keen to get the garden producing first.
“Tilba sits atop a region that is colloquially known as the triangle,” Paul explains.
“It’s the trio of villages – Bermagui, Cobargo, and Tilba, they make a triangle on the map.”
Paul says the name Triangle Farm is also a nod to the triangle being the strongest shape.
“And the three points [of a triangle] also symbolise produce, place and people – the three most important elements in food,” Paul says.