While our rural regions continue to battle the strong grip of drought, Moree on a Plate is defiant in its commitment to producers, and the community.
In 2019 the event, one of the region’s most established, and reputable food and wine festivals has announced a ‘look local’ theme - growing local talent as well as local produce.
In response to the rural downturn, president Bethany Kelly said the festival, which is only possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses and sponsorship, was excited to look within the community to promote local talent, rather than a ‘celebrity chef’.
“Moree is full of such a huge variety of talented chefs and home cooks, and we are thrilled to offer the opportunity for them to share their skills and tips in our highly popular, interactive cooking demonstrations.
“In the past we have always facilitated a celebrity chef, at a significant expense, and so this year for something different, and sensitive to the current local economy, we will help nurture our own, home grown talent.”
Lebanese, Vietnamese, cake baking and decorating are just some of the possibilities, with Bethany confident the skills taught will be ones easily adopted in kitchens across the region.
“We want people to learn skills they can easily put into practice – be it rolling a gyoza or the prettiest of cake icing techniques – our local talents have a wealth of knowledge to share,” Mrs Kelly said.
This year’s festival will be held Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 11 at The Moree Secondary College, Albert Street, Moree from 10am to 4pm.
And with a stall-holder wait list in the past, this year the school will open up an extra courtyard, to facilitate even more producers from across the NSW and Queensland.
“The festival continues to grow each year, and despite the drought we are so proud to offer the community a vehicle to promote producers, talent, tourism – and most importantly, a fun-filled, relaxed day out.”
“The Moree district has long been regarded as one of the world’s premier producers of grains and cotton, a number of evolving industries, such as oranges, pecans and olives, have also cemented their place on the table in recent years,” Mrs Kelly said.
Likewise, across the region - from The Conscious Farmer organic beef on the Liverpool Plains to Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm at Hanging Rock - Moree on a Plate successfully attracts the top producers from across the North West and South East Queensland.
“Moree on a Plate is so many things to so many people – it’s a farmers’ market, it’s a family day out, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing lunch in the autumn sunshine and it’s a wonderful way to promote not only our marvellous producers but our lovely town of Moree,” Mrs Kelly said.
And with a $2 cover charge the committee is intent on ensuring the event is affordable and accessible for all.
“Increasingly we’re seeing more and more return visitors from across the region, from coastal areas and the ‘grey nomad’ community – Moree on a Plate has emerged as a tourist destination event, with the flow-on effects for our town immense,” Mrs Kelly said.
The highly entertaining Blokes on the Barbeque will be back in 2019, as will the ever-popular Kids Korner, with a smorgasboard of live entertainment also to be announced in the coming months.