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Renowned food expert taken straight to local source

The spotlight shined bright on Murraylands and Riverland food producers this month as our region played host to one of Australia’s most renowned food influencers. Tawnya Bahr – founder of national food consulting business Straight To The Source – spent four days road tripping more than 1200 kilometres across the region.

Producers generously opened their doors to Tawnya and offered authentic food experiences which showcased our region’s unique personality.

The four days were an invaluable opportunity for Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) to confirm the Murrayland and Riverland’s status as the state’s premium food bowl and create economic opportunities for businesses.

This was a “sowing the seed” visit for Tawnya, to gain first-hand insight into the region’s food industry, before potentially hosting her clients as part of an industry tour.

This trip included visits to Pike River Villas, Murray River Queen, Arrosto Coffee, 23rd Street Distillery, Singing Magpie Produce, Autumn Fruits, 919 Wines, Bulla Burra, Banrock Station, River Murray Honey, The Broody Goose, Murray River Capers, Aussie Apricots, Coorong Wild Seafood, Brayfield Park, and The Davery Establishment.

Straight To The Source delivers unique behind-the-scenes food experiences for chefs and hospitality professionals in regional areas across the country, with view to helping producers secure new supply contracts.

Culinary institution Le Cordon Bleu, national icon Qantas, and internationally-acclaimed dining group Rockpool are just some of Tawnya’s many clients.

Tawnya was “overwhelmed” by her first visit to the Murraylands, as well as the quality of our produce and the passion of our people.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Our region has, and continues, to punch above its weight in the food industry.

More than one-third (34 per cent) of our region’s gross regional product comes from primary production. It’s our biggest competitive advantage.

The agricultural industry in the Murraylands and Riverland contributes approximately $1.5 billion to the South Australian economy each year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, which is the equivalent of nearly one-quarter (23.4 per cent) of the state’s entire agricultural production.

We have an eclectic range of large, multi-national agribusinesses and intimate, artisanal food producers in the Murraylands and Riverland, often across the road from each other.

Tawnya’s visit, and any future Straight To The Source Tours, aren’t only an opportunity for participating producers, but for the entire industry.

The Murraylands and Riverland is home to over 200 food and produce-related businesses. This number could more than double within years if producers can create demand for their products from consumers who feel a genuine connection with the source of their food. There’s already strong demand for region-specific produce that continues to grow.

We are confident Tawnya’s visit was just the start of something bigger, and we look forward to welcoming her back with open arms to see more of what our region has to offer.

If businesses are interested in participating in future potential Straight To The Source tours I’d encourage you to contact the RDAMR team to register your interest.

Hold your heads high. Our region should be proud.

Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) can be contacted by phone on (08) 8535 7170 or in person at 137 Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.

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