Down on the Farm (gourmet-style)
Farming just got a whole lot more interesting with the advent of paddock-to-plate experiences materialising around the countryside. And in Byron Bay, one such farm has been causing quite a sensation.
Open since January, the Farm at Byron Bay, on Ewingsdale Road, five minutes from the centre of Byron Bay, is the brainchild of Tom Lane, of the Lane family, which founded Australian fashion empire, Oroton. Lane, with his wife Emma and four small children, have made the tree change from their beachfront home in Sydney’s Manly to Byron Bay, to invest $6 million into a 32 hectare farming community, which currently consists of the Byron Bay Cheese Company, the Byron Bay Garlic Company, The Bread Social, Flowers at the Farm and a sister to the Sydney restaurant of the same name, The Three Blue Ducks.
Lane’s vision for the farm is to “grow, feed, educate and entertain.” So far, it is succeeding on many fronts. There are a multitude of vegetables grown on-site, using organic farming practices, as well as poultry, pigs and beef cattle – all serving the needs of the cafe and restaurant. The Three Blue Ducks is doing a roaring trade, families are flocking to the farm to educate their children on the origins of their food, there are daily yoga classes, ‘down to earth living’ skills workshops, and frequent live music and events. The rustic buildings, orchard and restaurant are all available for private hire, conjuring up evenings around a roaring fire with a bold glass of red in hand.
On the day we visited – mid-week during school term – it was crowded, and we were lucky to score a table in the restaurant, after a wait. We didn’t mind, it gave us time to browse through the abundant produce store, lust after the organic sourdough bread and buns in the artisan bakery, revel in the aroma of the fresh flowers, and take a stroll to visit the chooks.
The lunch was worth the wait. We feasted on chicken curry, mushrooms with quinoa and roast pumpkin salad. It was a delicious and satisfying shared meal, and with a couple of glasses of rose to wash it down, it made a perfect outing in the countryside! For this city-slicker, it was a very refined and upmarket farm experience!
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