Three stallholders at the Kiama Farmers Market have been announced as State Winners in prestigious Delicious Produce Awards.
The Delicious Awards are the only chef nominated awards in the country, meaning only the highest regarded food gets to the judging table.
“It’s really exciting for the whole area,” says Mahlah Grey of The Pines.
Pecora, a sheep dairy farm on the escarpment near the Illawarra Fly, and The Pines Kiama have been recognised for their cheeses, and Moonacres Farm, at Fitzroy Falls, for its seasonal produce.
Pecora has won Delicious Awards before, with its Yarrawa cheese winning a gold medal last year, and Michael and Cressida McNamara winning a Delicious scholarship to learn more about raw milk cheese making in France. The trip paid off, as this year the honour goes to their raw milk Fetta.
The quality of The Pines’ milk has also been recognised three times before, but Kel and Mahlah Grey are thrilled their hard cheese, Pearl, has been recognised so early on in its development.
“It has been our dream from the start to make hard cheese, but it was only last year that we completed our cheese silo to finesse the maturation stage,” says Mahlah.
Kel has recently returned from a Red Zed Meet the Master scholarship he won to the UK, to learn from innovative cheesemakers at Fen Farm.
“He learnt so much and has come back so enthused about what we can achieve.
“We will be making significant investment to ramp up our production and focus on improving our small selection of artisan cheeses.”
While Pecora and The Pines have been at the Kiama Farmers’ Market since its inception, Moonacres Farm became a stallholder a year ago.
The certified organic farm has been operating at Fitzroy Falls since 2006, growing a wide range of vegetables and fruit which they supply locally and to Sydney restaurants.
Last year they opened Moonacres Kitchen in Robertson, where they use not only the farm produce but also make bread and smallgoods.
The State Winners’ produce will now be blind-tasted by the National Judging Panel. Overall category winners will be announced on 19 August.