The Distinction of Tasmanian Agriculture

By Gretchen Morfogen


Although the movement of late is local, local, local it still remains to be seen that global offerings of certain items keep our food system interesting, diverse and exotically delicious. No on can deny the beauty of field fresh greens still warm from the morning sun or a slice of sweet tomato drizzled with golden olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt from your own garden! But the beauty of sharing what the planet has to offer is equally as important and oh so tasty!

Balancing of global diversity is something I am very passionate about I cannot imagine not having a divine bottle of imported olive oil in my pantry or a wedge of cheese from a place where milk quality is far superior. Tasting these gems takes me to a place where one can appreciate what other cultures live with from day to day.

Sharing what I have found in a land so far away many people still relate it to a Mel Blanc character that torments Bugs Bunny incessantly – I’m talking about the Tasmanian devil. This creature actually exists but it’s far more vicious than the snorting gobbling one in the cartoon. It managed to survive the increasing population of English settlers much more so than the aboriginal people who became extinct in the late 19th century.

Tasmania is an island state off the shores of Southern Australia that couldn’t be farther from anything else and is a land lost in time to the harsh plague of most modern industry. It is rich in agriculture with vineyards growing some top quality grapes, sprawling orchards, lush pasture lands, tropical forests and rich marine life. Sounds like paradise. Well for the people that live there – it is. It is off the radar for many travelers due to the lure of  Australia so close, but the personalities of the natives is far from distant, closed of or impersonal. They are warm, inviting, innovative and a completely sustained eco-culture. Although they currently rely on many goods from the mainland, there is an emerging trend to support the locally produced indigenous foods.

In January I met a charming Tasmanian beekeeper, named Julian Wolfhagen that shared with me his story of foraging in the west coast rainforests for a single Leatherwood flower who’s bees produced a liquid gold used not only as a food source but as an antibacterial agent and many other medicinal purposes. Its texture is that of a salve but the taste is rich, sweet and decadent.

The Meadow honey yield derives from clover, blackberry thistle and endemic wildflowers from Northern Tasmania. The honey is extracted in a unique ‘cool’ process which alleviates the over refinement of hot extraction and packaging or heavy filtration. The result is a notably ‘set’ consistency of fine soft candied honey. He’s created a patented process of slowly crystallizing the honey in a stainless tank with a rotating auger by which the tiny crystals from the previous batch are slowly integrated into the new honey. This process allows a controlled crystallization that result in a soft sparkling spreadable honey from nature friendly technology cooperating with the spirit of a wild harvest. Obtaining this honey is worth every penny.

His philosophy is that in a world of over refinement there are still opportunities for a true and natural yield with the hope of a caring culture to live with such a vulnerable and pure environment. Words to live by…..