Last weekend we visited a couple of the iconic Sunshine Coast farms to sample the goods and to show the girls a bit of the paddock to the plate philosophy.
We started with picking strawberries at Strawberry Fields. (Now tell me you are not singing “strawberry fields forevvveeerrr”)
If you’ve read some of my previous posts you would be aware that there has been a bit of bad weather recently on the Sunshine Coast. Translation: Strawberry Fields Mud Pit! Not that this deterred us or in particular worried Marla, who has earned a bit of a reputation around Cotton Tree Holiday Park for being the kid that always jumps in puddles. In fact earning the nickname “Princess Puddleduck”. Of course my favourite part of this was when I directed Dave that the farm workers were putting bark chips over the mud puddles so that we could walk on them instead of through the mud. So Dave walked on them, and Dave being Dave is always wearing thongs and he sunk ankle deep into the mud. Ha! I’m still laughing.
We eventually waded through the mud down to the strawberry patches (when I say patches they are a bit more impressive than the couple of plants we had back in Adelaide that only ever produced one strawberry a year) and began to pick enough strawberries to feed a small nation.Just quietly we spent enough on them to fund the economies of said small nations and that didn’t include the fact that both Avalon and Marla probably ate their own body weight in strawberries while they picked them.
Oommeergggddd I think on the first taste we went to strawberry heaven. These were some of the most juicy and delicious strawberries I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. But then it got even better when they offered us chocolate dipping sauce!! Holy chocolate strawberry batman, way to win hearts.
After lunch of chocolate strawberries we rolled into the car and went to Maleny to do the tour of the Maleny Dairy which we didn’t get to do a few weeks ago.
Despite the fact that I am lactose intolerant and unable to actually eat anything produced at the Dairy the rest of the GudLanges consume a massive amount of dairy products daily. Just between the youngest two we can easily go through a three litre bottle of milk a day, plus cheese, plus yogurt and since visiting the dairy the biggest hit, the Maleny Dairy custard.
The farm tour is a fantastic way to show the kids where their milk comes from, although Avalon wasn’t completely convinced that allowing a cow to spurt milk into her hand to drink was a great idea. It also gives them an opportunity to pat baby farm animals, which is always a winner. I think the free samples at the end was probably Dad’s favourite part though.
The Maleny Dairy is a great example of how a local family based company can embrace and use the power of the tourism market to have a massive impact on how people consume products at the supermarket end of the chain. By showing people the production process, and by giving a face to the people who rely on the product it makes you really think about the impact the supermarket giants have on farmers and their families. The deregulation of the dairy industry forced many farmers to sell their farms. Maleny Dairy was one of the few that have survived by putting in their own production factory and sourcing milk from other local dairy farmers as well as their own cows.
Even if just one person each tour changes their milk consumption and buys farmers own milk then its a successful tour. It certainly made me rethink our own buying patterns.
Food for thought… and here’s a photo of the Big Pineapple – because big things.
The GudLanges xx