An initiative that aims to make the NSW Far South Coast as recognisable as the Barossa Valley when it comes to the production of quality produce has been given a massive financial boost by state and federal governments.
Launched in 2020, the Gourmet Coast Trail is a collective marketing initiative – primarily a website that promotes quality food businesses and experiences on the coast.
The NSW and Federal Governments recently granted the trail $315,000 under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, which will be used to enhance the trail’s website and grow its membership to a self-sustaining level.
The funding will also mean a position can be created to manage trail membership for two years.
“I think it’s a real recognition of what we have in this area,” the trail’s co-founder Fiona Kotvojs of Gulaga Gold Truffiere in Dignams Creek said.
She hoped the Gourmet Coast would come to be a nationally recognisable name in terms of quality produce, just as the Hunter and Barossa Valleys are known for producing wine.
But she said the difference was that the Far South Coast “has it all” when it came to quality food and beverages, from seafood to wine to cheese.
“We take it for granted and we just don’t realise others don’t have what we have access to at our fingertips,” Dr Kotvojs said.
“The Gourmet Coast Trail will help develop year-round food tourism in our region.
“As more food tourists visit and stay longer, this will create year-round employment opportunities and primary producers should be able to obtain a better return for the quality food they produce, helping make our communities and farms more viable into the future.”
While Dr Kotvojs said there had been a really difficult period for the region’s businesses since the Black Summer bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, and the latest round of coronavirus-related closures in Sydney had even more of an impact than previous closures.
She believed the trail would help show tourists what the region had so visitors could plan their trips more easily.
The Gourmet Coast stretches from Batemans Bay in the north to Wonboyn in the south and on to Nimmitabel in the west.
“Some of the country’s best food and drink can be found on this stretch of coast – served with spectacular views and easy driving adventures,” trail co-founder Lucy Wilson of Breakfast Creek Vineyard in Coolagolite said.
“The fresh produce, wine, beer and spirits, artisanal foods and restaurants here give food lovers the quality they demand and connects them with local food producers.
“This funding will help all those food and drink businesses reach more customers from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.”
Co-founder Greg Lissaman of Mountain View Tomatoes in Coolagolite said the funding allowed the trail to promote member businesses across council boundaries.
“This will inspire visitors to explore the whole Far South Coast,” he said.
The Gourmet Coast Trail website will launch in August 2021 and 55 member businesses have already signed up.