Farmers with lots to show and tell

The produce-swap stand at the Bungendore Harvest Market.

A GROUP of Bungendore farmers gathered a few years ago and came up with an idea for a weekend festival, where people can meet the farmers, learn about their food and celebrate local products.

Calling it the Bungendore Harvest Festival and backed by the Southern Harvest Association, it kicked off last year and now, in its second year, will again be showcasing local growers and winemakers but this time with a focus on how the product can be used.

“This year, we’re showing people the final product, and how we actually use our own produce,” says festival director Penny Kothe.

“Instead of just buying the groceries, there will be a greater offering of brunch, lunch and dinner options.

“This will give guests the chance to try before they buy, and get ideas for how they can use the produce themselves.”

Penny, who was part of the original organising committee, runs a small farm, Caroola Farm, with her husband Paul McKinnon, which produces a variety of meat and vegetables.

“I think [local producers] should be celebrated for supplying fresh food into the local market,” she says.

The weekend-long festival, from March 16 to 18, will celebrate food, farming and fibre in a variety of ways.

Penny says Friday, March 16, will be “A Taste of Bungendore”, where Bungendore restaurants and pubs will be welcoming guests to indulge in a delicious dining experience.

Then, Saturday, March 17 will be “All the Ingredients You Need”, the highlight of the weekend, where Bungendore comes alive with stalls, talks, cooking demonstrations and other activities.

The festival will take place in marquees along the footpaths in Ellendon Street between Malbon and Gibraltar Streets and at participating businesses.

Penny says stallholders have almost doubled from 35 to more than 60 this year.

Last year’s success also saw the Southern Harvest Association receive a grant from Destination NSW, which will allow greater infrastructure to be brought in to create a broader festival experience.

“This will include a stage to showcase live music and entertainment, and ensure guests receive the authentic Bungendore country town experience,” she says.

There will be plenty for the children, too, with a program that includes activities such as egg-and-spoon races, potato-sack races and face painting.

The final day of the festival, “Immerse Yourself”, on Sunday, March 18, will spread out to the farms, gardens and wineries, where visitors can participate in farm and winery tours, wander around local gardens, enjoy traditional Devonshire tea or do wine tastings.

“It’s a great celebration of fresh food and produce, as well as celebrating the Bungendore community,” Penny says.

“We hope that it will become an annual, regional event that gives people more exposure to how food and wine is grown.”

Bungendore Harvest Festival, Ellendon Street, Bungendore, March 16 -18. Visit southernharvest.org.au/harvest-festival

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