Prepare to be amazed because Bundaberg is throwing off it's invisible cloak and revealing itself as one of Australia's great food bowls.
You never knew Bundaberg produced anything other than rum? Well you're not alone. This region has been the silent hero behind many a perfect meal and produces a huge variety of fruit and vegetables. Everything from watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes to lychees, avocados and macadamias. Located just a few kilometres from the sea, it's also the spot to find the freshest seafood including mud crabs, coral trout, snapper and prawns.
Local food champion Amanda Hinds, who along with husband Larry runs Indulge Cafe, is part of a group of passionate locals who have begged, cajoled and in a very nice way, arm-twisted the region's food producers to come out of the closet and shout proud about their wares. Instead of only selling direct to the likes of Woolworths and Coles, she has persuaded them to diversify with other crops and sell a little direct to the consumer.
The result is Bundaberg's first Winterfeast Festival which was held over July 11 and 12. Saturday saw The Flat Farmers Markets attract more than 10,000 people to browse over 80 stalls. The crowds rocked up from 7am and many stalls sold out by 11am. Next time they all promise to bring so much more.
Foodies everywhere should be very happy with Amanda's efforts to share Bundaberg's food joy because we now have something exciting and new to discover and explore.
The benefits for farmers far outweigh the extra dollars of a side income. There's also the sheer pleasure they experience in seeing their wares on people's plates, hearing how good it tastes and sharing the food love.
Here's a taste of Winterfeast 2015.
The food fun continued on Sunday with a Sunday Soiree giving guests the chance to taste Bundaberg the Indulge way, fresh from the farmer to the plate, all lovingly crafted by Amanda, Larry and their team.
It's early days but I'm hoping there are plans to make this an annual event or, even better, a seasonal festival. Watch this space.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism.