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The Producers

Our producers grow world-class produce, from over 50 different fruits and vegetables to sheep, beef cattle, truffles and marron.

The Region

The lush Southern Forests region takes in the towns of Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole and their beautiful surrounds.

The Council

The SFFC represents local producers, culinary and agri-tourism operators, promoting the region’s status as WA’s premier food bowl.

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In the Southern Forest

In the Surrounds

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If you have an event you would like us to include please forward the details to marketing@southernforestsfood.com or call our office on 08 9772 4180

The Region

THE LOCALS IN THE SOUTHERN FORESTS REGION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA HAVE KNOWN ABOUT IT FOR GENERATIONS. IN THIS GORGEOUS, PRISTINE PART OF THE WORLD, SOMETHING MAGICAL IS GOING ON.

Maybe it’s the clear, crisp air. Or the extraordinary fertility of the soils. Maybe it’s the 365 growing days a year. Or the purity of the rainfall. Or maybe it’s a combination of all these things. Truth is no-one knows for sure.

But what we do know is this. Every time you bite into an apple, or slice into an avocado, or you’re tempted by a truffle, or any of the other wondrous vegetables, meats, fruits and nuts that are grown in the Southern Forests of Western Australia, you’ll be left in no doubt that the array of fresh local produce simply looks, smells and tastes better. 

THAT'S A GENUINE EXPERIENCE.

THE SOUTHERN FORESTS REGION IS SITUATED 300km FROM PERTH IN THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH-WEST CORNER OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The region begins just outside Manjimup, where agricultural land is dotted with magnificent karri trees. (Home of the internationally famous black truffle and Pink Lady apple.)

Further south is Pemberton where the forest is more established, with many karri trees well over 300 years old. (Renowned for spectacular marron, potatoes, avocados and limes.)

Towards the coast lies the scenic town of Northcliffe surrounded by towering forests and rich coastal plains and wetlands. (Recognised as prime grazing land that produces magnificent beef and dairy cattle.)

Further south is Walpole, which is set on the tranquil waters of the Walpole Inlet. (Known for its honey and lush pastures that sustain livestock.)

Manjimup

Nestled in hundreds of hectares of National Park, the town of Manjimup is the centre of a diverse, thriving fruit and vegetable industry. Local growers produce everything from avocados, cherries, plums and kiwi fruit to hazelnuts, broccoli and potatoes. It is renowned for the internationally famous Pink Lady apple and is home to world-class gourmet black truffles.

Every year Manjimup hosts the three-day Cherry Harmony Festival to celebrate its magnificent cherry harvest. It includes a street festival, an evening concert, and the fine-dining Cherry Long Table Lunch, served in the picturesque surrounds of one of its lush cherry orchards.

Manjimup is also the home of the Truffle Kerfuffle – an annual celebration of the region’s magnificent truffles, which features local produce stalls, master classes by top chefs, a gala dinner and guided truffle hunts. As well as unparalleled fresh farm produce, available from the farm gate and at the twice-monthly farmers market, the Manjimup area offers wine tasting, the popular Fonty’s Pool for relaxing and swimming and marron and trout fishing.

Pemberton

Known as “Karri Country”, picturesque Pemberton is surrounded by the spectacular karri forests of Gloucester National Park. Its cool Mediterranean climate makes it not only ideal wine country but perfect for growing a diverse range of produce.

The area is truly a remarkable food bowl; from producing some of the world’s finest truffles, to Hass variety avocados, potatoes, berries and hazelnuts, sheep and beef cattle, the rich soil and temperate climate produces some of the finest foods available.

Home to one of Australia’s youngest and most exciting wine regions, Pemberton’s first commercial winery was established in 1982. With rich, loam soil, the area has more than 40 vineyards and almost 20 mostly family-owned wineries, many of which offer cellar door tastings and house beautiful restaurants serving fresh, local, gourmet food.

Lying on the Bibbulmun Track, Pemberton has abundant streams, rivers and dams, perfect for trout fishing and catching the local marron delicacy.

Northcliffe

Set among a wealth of forests, rivers, sand dunes and coastlines, Northcliffe is renowned for its dairy industry, which produces some of the finest, cleanest milk in WA. True to the diversity the Southern Forests region is known for, Northcliffe is also home to wineries and local growers who produce olives and olive oil, berries, truffles and top-quality marron.

The Karri Country Good Food Shop, a community organisation run by volunteers, sells fresh, seasonal local produce from nearby growers, specialising in wholefoods and organics. A nature-tourism hotspot, Northcliffe also offers unbeatable fishing, whale-spotting, national parks and dunes.

The Understory – the first purpose-built walk trail in the country to permanently feature artworks – has works by national and international artists that reflect the essence of the Southern Forests region.

Walpole

About an hour from Northcliffe, Walpole sits against the spectacular backdrop of tall trees and incredible coastal scenery. On the beautiful waters of Walpole Inlet and surrounded by 400-year-old tingle trees and the Southern Forests’ ubiquitous karri trees, Walpole is a haven for everything outdoors.

The area has a thriving dairy industry, as well as sheep and beef cattle, with its pristine natural environment making it perfect for agriculture. Local honey producers create honey and honey products in the most natural way possible, harvesting all the goodness from uncrowded hives. Thurlby Herb farm specialises in blending aromatic herbal concoctions, creating handmade soaps, aromatherapy products and gourmet gifts, much of which is sourced from its own land.

There is plenty of farmstay accommodation for visitors where they can truly indulge in nature, taking advantage of bushwalking, fishing, bird watching, kayaking, sailing, beach four wheel driving and visiting the spectacular Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk – a 600-metre walkway which rises 40 metres above the forest floor .

The Producers

Our producers are renowned for growing world-class produce, including more than 50 types of fruit and vegetables, truffles, marron, beef cattle and much more.

Stewart Ipsen

Avocados

Stewart is a fourth-generation Southern Forests farmer, whose brother and parents also farm in the area. His family have raised sheep and cattle, grown potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and apples but it was their foray into avocados that inspired him when he bought his own property in 2003.

With the Solomon family, Stewart grows mostly Hass variety avocados on their 90 hectares of orchard, although he also grows some of the Reed variety. Last year Stewart harvested 6000 bins of avocados – equivalent to 3000 tonnes.

About 90 per cent of Stewart’s avocados are exported to the Eastern States, five per cent overseas and the remainder to fresh markets in WA.

While growing avocados is not without its challenges – they do not respond well to changes in temperature - Stewart believes the pristine water of the Southern Forests has enabled him and other local producers to prosper.

Kay Gravett

Figs

Kay and her husband Phil made a “tree change” in 2006, moving from Hereford cattle to growing figs on their Rustlers property in Manjimup. For the last six years they have been growing figs on five hectares, supplying restaurants, markets in Perth and locals who are able to buy the fruit straight from the farm. She expects to be in full production this year with a bumper crop to meet increasing demand from chefs and markets that only want Rustler’s figs.

Kay also has half a hectare of a remarkable unique fruit she discovered on the property and named the rustleberry, after a tiger snake which lived around the bushes. A cross between a blackberry and raspberry, the rustleberry is an award-winning fruit with a short season of three weeks. Kay believes advice from good friends and the wonderful growing area in Manjimup has helped them make the transition to successful orchardists producing top-quality fruit.

Vic Peos

Wine

Vic Peos is a director of the family-owned and operated Peos Estate boutique wines. Vic’s family has been living and working the land in Manjimup for more than 80 years and their wine-making heritage stretches back several generations to Macedonia, where Vic’s grandfather cultivated grapes and produced his own wine.

While the family has produced everything from dairy cattle to potatoes, in 1996 Vic and his brothers joined together to establish a winery and bring the family history full circle.

All Peos Estate wines are produced entirely from estate-grown grapes, picked from vines on the family’s 90-acre property. Vic believes in the least intervention possible when processing the grapes, giving the family’s wine a unique, handcrafted aspect, and one that is as close to nature as possible.

Brian Thornley

Limes

Brian Thornley and his wife Val are relative newcomers to the citrus industry. Starting just four years ago, they now have an orchard of 1120 Tahitian lime trees.

After buying a property in the Southern Forests for a semi-retirement ‘tree change’, Brian spotted an area of land perfect for growing fruit.

An accountant by trade, Brian has been around the agriculture industry for most of his life, working for rural clients. However developing a path as an orchardist was a new game altogether. Luckily Brian gives everything he does his all, so after a great deal of research he decided to take a chance and grow limes - the first in the region to do so.

This year Brian’s trees yielded 16,000 kilos of fruit and he has plans to produce more than triple that in the next few years.

Glen & Dean Ryan

Potatoes

Brothers Glen and Dean Ryan have been growing potatoes in the Southern Forests region for more than 30 years. With their parents Tony and Jan, the family farms 150 acres of potatoes and is constantly innovating and trialling new varieties.

In one particular year the Ryans were growing more than 30 different varieties. Nadine potatoes make up the majority of their crop however they also grow Royal Blue and Ruby Lou potatoes. Glen is always searching for new varieties to fill a niche or to find better replacements and is currently trialling Sifra, Mozart and Purple Delight potatoes and several others on the farm. The Ryans supply to the challenging fresh food market and are passionate about the region; its soil, climate, rainfall, environment and, of course, potatoes.

Sophie Zalokar

culinary tourism

A chef from South Australia who qualified under Australian food icon Maggie Beer, Sophie Zalokar is passionate about cooking and sharing her love of the region's produce and culinary heritage. She and her husband Chris run Foragers – a farm-based cooking school and restaurant, 6km south of Pemberton.

The couple moved there with their children in 2005 and have slowly built up their 19-acre property to include rare breed pigs, ducks and chickens, a kitchen garden and fruit orchard with heirloom varieties.
Re-launched as Foragers in 2011, the property also offers self-contained chalet accommodation, guests being guided by Sophie to experience the region's beauty and seasonal bounty.
From watercress picked from the edge of a nearby brook and produce sourced from local growers together with a selection of unusual herbs, salads and leafy greens grown in her garden, Sophie’s focus is on providing her guests and visitors with an authentic culinary tourism experience in the Southern Forests.

Nicole Giblett

Apples

Nicole Giblett is a third generation orchardist whose family owns and runs Newton Orchards – one of the biggest and best-known orchards in WA. For more than 80 years her family has been producing pears, cherries and apricots. However, it is best known for its apples, particularly the Pink Lady which was developed in Manjimup.

Nic strives to keep Newton’s long-time quality focus and thrives on innovation, recently helping the business enter the challenging organic market. From this year Newton Orchards is supplying certified organic apples from its ValleyView property and Nic aims to have Manjimup recognised as the true “home of crunchy apples”.

Working alongside her partner, father and brother in the family business, Nic is also bringing up the business’s fourth generation of passionate fruit growers.

Rob Taylor

Feijoas

Although he has a background in electrical contracting, Rob has always been interested in farming and bought his property 18 years ago. On his eight hectares he grows apples, nectarines, figs, limes and oranges but it is the half-hectare of feijoas that really sets him apart. Related to the guava family, feijoas are best known in New Zealand but this gourmet fruit is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

Rob said while it is hard to describe the unique taste of feijoas, they can be eaten fresh as well as made into excellent jams and even wine. Rob sells his feijoas to the fresh food market in Perth and last year harvested more than 800kg of the fruit. He credits the clear, quality water in the area for his crops thriving and is looking forward to bringing this amazing fruit to more people.

David East

Lettuce

David started work on his father’s cattle and sheep farm as a teenager but soon realised he wanted to diversify and move into horticulture, which he saw as a more sustainable industry.
The transition from cattle farming to vegetable growing was not easy but today David and his wife Lee manage 120 acres of Cos lettuce, Iceberg, gourmet lettuce and baby leaf spinach. The Southern Forests’ temperate climate enables David to grow leafy greens during the summer while other producers cannot and he is one of the few growers in Australia to operate his own nursery.

Although lettuce is one of the hardest and most unforgiving plants to grow, David and his family have thrived, selling their crops to many big processors in WA.

The Council

The Southern Forests Food Council was founded in 2010 by a group of passionate local producers who recognised that the wealth and abundance of produce grown in the region made it perfect for food tourism. Its role was formalised in 2012 after receiving a $5 million investment under the State Government's SuperTowns initiative. The investment is part of a $7 million Royalties for Regions allocation to the Shire of Manjimup for its Agricultural Expansion Project.

Ten local producers who, between them, have hundreds of years’ experience in the industry, currently sit on the Council’s Committee of Management.

The Food Council is committed to unifying the area’s world-class and diverse producers to strengthen the region’s economy, attract investment and export opportunities, promote regional pride, and create sustainable jobs. It represents local producers, culinary and agri-tourism operators who live and work in what is WA’s premier food bowl, aiming to ultimately establish the Southern Forests region as an internationally-recognised top culinary tourism destination.

  • Why is it important?

    The Southern Forests Food Council, taking in the towns of Manjimup, Pemberton, Walpole and Northcliffe, is home to an incredible variety of produce and experiences. These include around 50 different fruits and vegetables, truffles and boutique produce, and dairy and cattle farms, as well as award-winning wineries, and exceptional culinary experiences. In all, the agricultural sector is valued at around $127 million per annum, making it the area's most significant economic driver and representing a major opportunity to drive growth in the region.

    The Food Council will play a critical role in unifying the area's diverse producers to strengthen economic performance, attract further investment, create jobs, promote regional pride and ultimately achieve recognition as a highly regarded culinary tourism destination.

  • Who is involved?

    The Food Council was initially founded by a group of passionate local producers and those recognising the benefits that food-tourism could bring the area in late 2010.

    Its role was formalised following receipt of funding under the State Government's SuperTowns initiative. A steering committee, incorporating the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Shire of Manjimup and South West Development Commission, was set up to support and monitor the project.

    A Committee of Management comprising of local producers was formed to help steer the direction of its work in November 2012.

  • How is it Funded?

    Through the State Government's Royalties for Regions' Manjimup SuperTowns initiative, the Southern Forests Food Council has been awarded a $5 million investment, as part of a $7 million allocation to the Shire of Manjimup for its Agricultural Expansion Project, in May 2012.

    SuperTowns is an $85.5 million initiative, under the Royalties for Regions program, to support population growth in southern WA. To date 17 major projects have been identified for funding across nine strategically located SuperTowns; Boddington, Collie, Esperance, Jurien Bay, Katanning, Manjimup, Margaret River, Morawa and Northam. The program is administered by the Western Australian Government’s Department of Regional Development.

- Committee of Management -

The Southern Forests Food Council appointed its inaugural Committee of Management in October 2012. Between them, our Committee have hundreds of years of experience in the food industry. They represent generations of passionate, determined, local growers and producers and are committed to harnessing their invaluable expertise and drive to grow the Southern Forests region locally, domestically and internationally as an area of unparalleled genuine, quality, food production and food tourism destination.

With the establishment of the Food Council and the completion of a regional brand, our focus is now on creating awareness and educating local, national, and international markets on the quality and diversity of the region's produce. This work will see the Southern Forests region firmly established as one of the premier food production regions in the world.

- Bevan Eatts -

Chairman

Bevan is a third generation grower; an orchardist who also produces beef cattle and sheep, Bevan has been a self-employed farmer for the last 20 years.

Bevan has been part of the Fruit West Committee, Warren Donnelly Water Advisory Committee and the Horticulture Agriculture Advisory Reference Group, as well as being the Chair of the Stone Fruit Leadership Group.

He says he is honoured to be a part of the food council and sees it as a great opportunity to spread the message about the region’s world-class produce.

"Farming here is a love and a passion."

"My objective is to build economical sustainable businesses that create employment, enabling people to build careers and continue to live in the best region in the world."

- Vic Peos -

Vice Chair

A member of the West Australian wine industry association, Vic is a director of Peos Estate Wines and his family have been food producers in the region for half a century. Vic is committed to educating consumers about where their food comes from and how it is produced and to promote the incredible produce grown in the Southern Forests under an inspiring collective local brand.

"We produce so much here. It is a beautiful place and we need to start to tell people what we have here and get them exploring. The food council is a great vehicle, driven by stakeholders who know the area and the produce and have enormous experience."

"We need brand development to enhance our future growth and prosperity. The Council’s vision and objectives truly reflect my goals and ambitions for our region."

- Alexis Gandy -

Treasurer

Alexis and her husband Kim run the Diamond Tree Angus Stud and Diamond Tree Farm Stay.

"I believe new products and markets are extremely important for the growth and prosperity of the region as well as the nurturing of current industries. The Council’s vision is well aligned with the emerging trends of food security and health and wellbeing through eating quality, ethically-produced food."

- Mark Bending -

Secretary

Mark is an owner/Director of farming and forestry consultancy businesses. Mark produces beef, marron and avocados in the region and is a member of the Manjimup Pasture Group, and Meat and Livestock Australia.
Mark believes that the Food Council’s focus should be on improving grower outcomes, and that it is important that the SFFC demonstrates its ability to produce positive results for the growers and the region.

- Kim Edwards -

Committee Member

An owner-operator, Kim farms beef cattle using first cross cows and black Simmental bulls and has farmed in the region for more than 20 years. He grows vegetables through the warmer months for customers across WA.

Kim has been part of the Vegetables WA committee, Warren Donnelly Water Advisory as a vegetable liaison and the Warren Cauliflower Committee as well as a member of the Manjimup Pasture Group.

"I feel that this is a great opportunity for Manjimup as a shire to really market itself well, promoting us as the leading agriculture producing area that we are and help us tap into that much-needed tourist industry."

"We need to support industry and small business growth to provide employment and opportunities for the existing families and to attract new people to our town."

- Nicole Giblett -

Committee Member

Nic has been at the forefront of the pome fruit industry since the 1990s and is a director in her family company, industry leader Newton Brothers Orchards. With a background in media and the horticulture industry, Nic’s passion has seen her pursue and develop direct marketing and value-add opportunities, build social media, communications and advocacy channels and spearhead Newton Brothers’ entry into the thriving and challenging organics market.

Nic has been involved with the Gascoyne Growers Market and Slow Food Southern Forests convivium, a member of the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival committee and is a regular Manjimup Farmers Market stallholder.

“I believe my qualifications and passion for shoring up the Australian agricultural sector amid uncertain times support the food council’s objectives of regional brand development, consumer education and building recognition of the Southern Forests as a unique tourism destination."

"Our region is world-class, with pristine growing conditions and natural beauty. I’m keen to help foster an encouraging, empowering and inspirational environment for farmers large and small who are moving towards more ethical food production that will sustain future generations in a thriving and proud community."

- Monica Radomiljac -

Committee Member

Monica owns and operates Pemberley of Pemberton, one of the regions highly acknowledged wineries. Monica also produces potatoes, marron, and beef at their Pemberton property. Monica is the President of the Pemberton Wine Region Association, a previous WOWA board member, Timber Towns Wine Show committee member, Rottnest Foundation board member, with experience on school councils, community committees, various boards, and is involved in the tourism industry.
Monica supports the SFFC objectives and enjoys the opportunity of being involved with the Food Council.

- Al Blakers -

Committee Member

Al is the Managing Director of Manjimup Truffles and Five Acre Nursery and was instrumental in setting up the truffle industry in Manjimup.

A third-generation farmer and original ‘truffle man’, Al is passionate about the region and helping the Southern Forests Food Council bring local growers’ incredible produce to the rest of the world.

"This is one of the great places of the world and I want to see growers achieve success in international markets."

"I feel I can bring my experience in marketing truffles to assist in the development of strategies that will enable our great local producers to really take off in these areas."

In The Media

  • 5 May 2016

    WESTPAC SUPPORTS SOUTHERN FORESTS PRODUCERS

    Southern Forests producers are being backed by Westpac Manjimup in a recent agreement signed with Southern Forests Food Pty Ltd.
    “The establishment of the Pty Ltd has allowed for the Food Council to expand our services to our members to seek out and actually pursue sales opportunities that benefit producers.” said Bevan Eatts, SFFC Chair. Mr Eatts went on to say “The fact that Westpac Manjimup are willing to back us and our producers gives us confidence to build on these activities and really make a difference for our region.”

  • 27 April 2016

    GENUINELY SOUTHERN FORESTS PRODUCE HITS HONG KONG

    Genuinely Southern Forests produce is now on shelves in Hong Kong in the new range of Genuinely Southern Forests grab-and-go bags. “The opportunity for our producers to supply Genuinely Southern Forests produce in our new range of packaging to a new export market is a great win for our region and what we are trying to achieve.” said Bevan Eatts, SFFC Chair.

  • 14 December 2015

    New packaging for Genuinely Southern Forests produce

    The Southern Forests Food Council (SFFC) is trialling new Genuinely Southern Forests retail ready packaging in two local retail outlets after a successful sneak peek at the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival on Saturday 12 December 2015. Genuinely Southern Forests produce in our brand new retail ready packaging is available for a limited time as part of the sneak peek, at The Cherry Box, Manjimup and The Stables IGA, Bridgetown.

  • 7 December 2015

    Cherry Festival's Food Avenue offers a Genuine taste experience

    Genuinely Southern Forests have once again teamed up with the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival for the 2015 event to feature the Tastes of the Genuinely Southern Forests Food Avenue. Brockman Street in Manjimup will be transformed to showcase over 20 different food and wine stalls as part of the Tastes of the Genuinely Southern Forests Food Avenue, from jams, chutneys, olive oil, wine, cider, marron, truffle, and of course the star of the weekend – fresh local cherries.

  • 26 November 2015

    Genuinely great produce on offer

    The Genuinely Southern Forests team are joining forces with WA Exclusive Meats in Carlisle and Napoli Mercato in Harrisdale to promote genuine fresh local produce on the first weekend in December. Southern Forests farmers will be in stores to talk about their produce and will be placing the spotlight on seasonal products the Southern Forests are well known for; cherries and beef.

MEMBERSHIP

Join the Food Council

We invite you to join with the Southern Forests Food Council as a Member.  As we are in an early stage of growth, we are offering complimentary inaugural memberships.

On behalf of the Committee of Management, we formally invite the Southern Forests communities and associated stakeholders to submit applications for FULL or ASSOCIATE membership depending on your eligibility.  To understand the eligibility criteria, please refer to our Rules of Association which can be downloaded from the relevant link at the end of this section. 

In brief, Full Membership of the Food Council is open to:

  • Those who either produce food from the Region;
  • Have a direct association with primary industry in the Region; or
  • Have a direct association with food and tourism industries in the Region.

​Please download and complete a SFFC Member Application Form, which can be found at the end of this section, ​and return to our office to demonstrate your support.

Members can use the Genuinely Southern Forests brand mark (logo)

The Genuinely Southern Forests Western Australia brand mark or logo can be used by SFFC members.  The brand mark has a number of minor variations that can be seen in our Brand Code of Practice document.  This brand mark is predominantly for food producers/growers.

The preferred version is Genuinely Southern Forests Western Australia, however members can use the version that highlights their town, if they prefer.

Once you become a member of the Southern Forests Food Council you can apply under the Brand Code of Practice application form, which can be found on page 8 of the document.  Once approved this will allow you to use the brand in your selected and approved manner e.g. on your website, brochures etc.

A Genuinely Southern Forests Supporter category has also been created to allow those people and businesses that are not food producers or growers to participate and use the brand mark.  If you are a local business, tourism operator or association for example, you can apply under the Brand Code of Practice to use the Genuinely Southern Forests Supporter brand mark on your promotional material.

Membership forms and Brand Code of Practice forms can be downloaded from the links below and once you have completed them you can drop them off to us at the SFFC office or email them through to laura@southernforestsfood.com.

It's that simple!  Even simpler, drop into our office and we will help you fill them out.

Become a friend of SFFC

If you are not directly involved with produce or tourism in the region, ‘Befriending a Southern Forests Farmer’ gives you the opportunity to forge a unique paddock-to-plate connection with a key regional source of WA food. 

Friends will receive regular updates, news and events from the Southern Forests Food Council.

To become a Friend, please sign up to our mailing list by completing the form below.

Contact the Food Council

Phone: 08 9772 4180 
Email: laura@southernforestsfood.com
Visit: 6a Brockman Street, Manjimup Western Australia 6258
Mail: PO Box 1258, Manjimup Western Australia 6258

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