As you head south from Brisbane to Byron Bay, the last turn off the highway is a hard turn east, where depending on the time of year, you may be caught for hours trying to make the last few kilometres to the beach lovers’ mecca.Right there, just after the turn off, there now lies a thriving foodie community called The Farm, perfectly positioned for those looking for a long lazy lunch rather than rush the last leg to Byron.
Set on 86 acres of farmland, as its name suggests, The Farm is primarily a working farm. It is also home to an incredible restaurant, organic grocer, bakery and florist. These separate businesses are housed together beneath a cluster of newly constructed buildings that are designed with the look and feel of old sheds. Although the businesses operate separately from one another, they come together under the shared Farm motto of ‘Grow, Feed, Educate’.
Produce for the restaurant is sourced from the paddocks within the property (and the local region or ocean beyond). The farm is open for guests to wander around, watch the cattle grazing, see chickens pecking about, watch the pigs wallowing in their luscious grounds, see crops growing and check out the native bee hives dotted about the place. Acres of green pasture provide an endless view and a completely different experience to your average breakfast or lunch out.
The restaurant is called Three Blue Ducks. If you are familiar with the Sydney dining scene, then you may know of the iconic Three Blue Ducks restaurant in the seaside suburb of Bronte. Known for its dedication to fresh, healthy and homemade dishes with a difference, the charismatic owners behind the restaurant were beckoned north with the opportunity to be a part of The Farm. The menu items are complex and ingredient-heavy at Three Blue Ducks. Each dish reads as incredibly healthy, very interesting and delicious, making tough work of narrowing down the best dish. Breakfast is much more complex than the standard café menu, offering dishes like cauliflower and broccoli rice with a poached egg, miso eggplant, kale, kimchi, seaweed, pickled ginger, shallots and toasted sesame. That is one dish. On a recent trip to The Farm for dinner, my companions and I were faced with another exceptional menu. Strangely enough, all six of us ordered the same thing. It was the kind of dish you wanted all to yourself without having to give others their obligatory tastes: Borrowdale pork, mustard cream, fermented cabbage, pork scratchings, roasted apple and parsnip chestnut puree. Enough said. Another trip saw my friend and I sharing two seriously fresh seafood dishes for lunch – barbecued prawns and the freshest of squid; all washed down with a good glass of white wine, it was perfection. Although The Farm is preaching to the converted as far as I’m concerned, having walked around the grounds, seen the produce and livestock growing, and been fed at the Three Blue Ducks on a few occasions, I am grateful to the founders of the place for providing the opportunity where we consumers can be closely connected to the source of our food.
Words by Alice Thompson | Images supplied by The Farm