SA Food Industry Awards

Disclaimer: I attended the Awards as the guest of Phil & Michele Lally, of Savannah Lamb.

The SA Food Industry Awards were held on Friday night (16 November) at a black tie dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre. I was excited to be invited along – not only was it a great excuse to get all dressed up but I was really interested to find out who the food industry itself thinks the local superstars are.

I’m sure the social details of the event (the dresses, the wine, the food, the entertainment) have been well covered by all types of media, so I want to use this post to acknowledge the finalists, particularly lesser known ones, and to encourage everyone to keep a look out for small, local producers when doing a weekly shop.

Some of the winners were big names. Have you heard of Haigh’s chocolates? Bickfords?  Beerenberg?  Of course you have.

But it was the little guys I was interested in. There are food producers doing interesting things throughout the state and they are not household names. Now, I don’t claim to be as up with local food production as I should be (and yes, I’m going to use my toddler as part of my excuse there) but I was surprised by how many unknown names I came across on the evening.

I am going to make an effort to source some of these products over the coming weeks (naturally, I’m going to add Christmas to my toddler excuse for any delays we may experience here …) but I’ll give you a quick run down of some of the smaller producers – particularly those in the < 10 employee categories.

Barossa Valley Cheese Company – run by Victoria McClurg, a winemaker turned cheesemaker
Enzo’s at Home – an offshoot of Enzo’s restaurant in Hindmarsh
Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company – you’ll find their products in your local Foodland supermarket
Gelista Premium Gelati – again stocked by many Foodlands
Kytons Bakery – again, many Foodlands
Pangkarra Foods – perhaps best described as a cereal producer, but Pangkarra also produces fine foods such as pasta. There is a comprehensive list of retailers on the website. Foodland again features prominently.
Harris Smokehouse – unsurprisingly, producers of a range of smoked fish products.  The products are reasonably widely available (with again, Foodlands & IGAs getting a look in).
The Australian Carob Company – producers of a wide range of carob products, including syrup, powder and kibble. The products are widely available – predominantly in health food shops.

And last but not least, my hosts, Savannah Lamb.  Phil and Michele Lally breed stress free, ethical lamb in the Clare Valley.  On Friday night they were winners of both Peats Soil and Garden Supplies* Sustainability Award (<= 10 FTE) and the PIRSA Regional Award, which recognises a regional food company that has contributed to its regional community and sets a benchmark for excellence.

As consumers, perhaps we should spend just a little bit more time seeking out these small, local producers. Often, it will mean shopping at small, independent shops – so you’ll also be supporting the little guys on the retail scene.  Many of the products are available in Foodlands/IGAs so you’re not necessarily going to have to make the effort you might think!

With the local food lecture over (!), congratulations to all the finalists and to FoodSA for putting on a great evening.

* While nothing to do with food, these guys have a really interesting story – I recommend checking out their site.

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