“It’s designed to be taken out into the field,” says editor Ewan McEoin of the latest title from The Locavore Edition, The Field Guide to New South Wales – a compact compendium detailing hundreds of growers and producers across New South Wales. Evocative of classic bird-watching guides, the pages are punctuated with textural illustrations and original photography of fresh produce. “We want to create a set of books that might have existed at any time in the past 50 years,” says McEoin.
Compiling a list of food businesses as comprehensive as this involved a lot of determined legwork for McEoin and his team of contributors. “This information doesn’t exist anywhere, we have to go and gather it,” he says of the extensive interviews, phone calls and regional tours needed to unearth the local treasures often overlooked by internet searches.
Those featured in the final cut were selected based on their approach to farming or creating food products, a curation process that distinguishes the material from a standard directory. “We’re trying to pick leaders and champions, so we can respect the people doing good work,” says McEoin, who explains those profiled are either actively nurturing their local food culture – through attending farmers’ markets or supplying nearby restaurants – or simply offer an entirely unique story. Say, taking on the cultivation of unusual heirloom crops. “Through local voices, we can identify issues and opportunities in each region; where the centre of gravity is in each community.”
Arranged by region, the guide opens with insider tips on where to find artisan goods and interviews with local food advocates dishing up favoured finds in their area. That means Anna Wong, head chef of Cowra’s famed Neila restaurant, on locally produced organic Dutch cream potatoes and peak-season truffles from nearby Millthorpe.
“There’s an awareness about the issues farmers are going through,” says McEoin of the growing interest in the origins of our food. The Field Guide to New South Wales Produce helps to bridge the gap between producer and consumer, unveiling the authenticity and dedication of those who enrich of our state’s covetable food offering – and the best ways to discover their goods.
To order a copy of The Field Guide to New South Wales or to check stockists, visit locavored.com