It was a passion for cooking and storytelling, plus a desire to celebrate lesser-known producers, that lead to creation of Hunter Gatherer Co. “We thought there was an opportunity to reconnect consumers with producers,” says co-founder Alex Hutchison, who created the business with Lynn Thompson. “We want to show each region across the seasons, to showcase each in its best light.”

Its debut hamper profiled Mudgee, and featured saltbush-grazed lamb from Nanima Farm, Highland Organics’ feta, organic garlic flowers and rosemary grown by Crave Natural and Capertee Valley Saffron’s fig and cardamom paste. “It’s designed to work together, to be a dinner party in a box,” says Hutchison of Hunter Gatherer’s approach to selecting and pairing produce, which comes complete with recipe suggestions in boxes for two or four people.

Sourcing goods from within 300 kilometres of Sydney means the duo can pound the pavement themselves. “It’s very hands-on and very personal. For us, food tastes so much better when you know who made it and why,” Hutchison says, explaining the producer story cards that accompany ingredients for those in the city indulging in a hamper. “What they’re passionate about, how they treat their animals, why someone is making their own gelato from the milk of 10 cows – it adds a whole other dimension to that product.”

Using ingredients from nearby food and wine-producing regions also ensures it arrives in the best-possible state. For the next box filled with South Coast edibles, Wagyu beef will be butchered on a Thursday, sent to Sydney on the Friday, and delivered to customers’ doorsteps on Saturday. When it comes to finding producers, three’s a charm. “If we get told about someone by three people in the area, we’ll hunt them down and make sure we can meet with them,” says Hutchison. “That’s the charm and beauty of it, discovering something and someone new.”

With so many areas to choose from, Hutchison and Thompson let a calendar of in-season produce guide future scouting destinations. “It’s a pretty good way to spend our weekends,” he says.

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