Exploring the food culture of Victoria's North East
Pod 14: Connection to country: terroir
Wine is frequently celebrated and understood for its connection to landscape. It reveals time, place, landscape and maker. Beechworth is regarded as one of Australia's premier wine regions. One of the smallest wine denominations in the country, its premium wines are almost entirely estate-crafted and bottled from hand-picked fruit. With a second generation of winemakers coming onto the scene, in this episode I talk to Phoebe Grant, Beechworth's youngest winemaker, articulate, and now creating her second vintage.
Pod 13: Sizing up to stay on top
Keith Nightingale has been growing apples for 68 years. From 20 acres in Doncaster he and his brother stepped up to 100 acres at Wandiligong in Victoria's alpine North East. Since then they've expanded their Wandiligong orchard to almost 170 acres with more trees in the nearby Buckland Valley, Stanley and Batlow in NSW. Keith is not shy of investing in what he sees as necessary to stay ahead of the game. By North East standards, the Nightingale's Alpine Orchards are the largest in the district however they are far from large compared to more industrial scaled producers further afield. In this episode Keith tells me about their very impressive family operation.
Pod 12: Value is more than money
Charlie Showers and Jade Miles eat a lot of apples. As heritage apple growers in Stanley, you might say apples have completely bitten them. Like me, they've watched apple orchards being torn out and felt more than a vague, passing sense of sadness. Astute, clever and hard-working, they've thought it through and felt the need to take a stand. Inspired by what they've seen overseas, including in Vermont in the North East of the United States, at Black Barn Farm they're celebrating the seasons, connecting with old ways of doing things and sharing their story.
Pod 11: The high cost of staying on the front foot
Henry Hilton from Snowline Fruits is the last full time, career apple orchardist in Stanley. He's regarded by many in the industry as one of the best apple orchardists in Australia, with a clear insight into what apples grow best and how to grow them using the latest techniques.
Pod 10: The growing scale of growing apples
Rob Tully is a fifth-generation apple orchardist and also the last. Three generations of Tullys grew apples in Doncaster, now suburban Melbourne. In 1955 Rob's father shifted operations to Beechworth and Rob eventually took over their sizeable orchard, producing premium apples for the local and export markets until 2016. Now all that remains is a 600 tree block of pears.
Pod 09: Evolving landscape: mines, pines and apples
The Thompson family grew apples near Stanley for most of the twentieth century. Retired orchardist Giff Thompson recounts that his grandfather and father saw the end of gold mining and the expansion of Stanley's pine forests. At the same time, the Thompsons' orchard grew from just a few hectares in 1900 to almost 50 hectares when sold in the last 1980s. Giff and his brothers were a vital part of Stanley's farming economy, supplying local, interstate and export markets with fruit. Their ownership saw exports to Europe, increasing economies of scale, automation and the introduction of controlled atmosphere storage.