How to eat local on the Sunshine Coast
While restaurants and chefs are at the frontline, selling the message of seasonal, local produce – and farmers markets are popping up in more and more towns faster than you can say “gluten intolerance” – on the Sunshine Coast there’s an entire food bowl awaiting your exploration, stretching from the hinterland to the coast.
Welcome to the land of farm tours, wineries, roadside honesty boxes, beekeepers and farmers markets. Here, we show you the 10 best ways you can eat your way through.
1. Have a brew (or two) at Brouhaha Brewery
The guys at this independent brewpub, tucked in the hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Maleny, know exactly how to quench your thirst with eight products in their swoon-worthy craft beer range.
While Brouhaha Brewery is a great spot to settle in with a beer (or two, make that three) and mingle with the local characters, they also partner with local producers to whip up fresh meals like Brouhaha pale ale pickled eggs, Mooloolaba prawn and bug roll, and Hinterland superfood salad.
2. Pick your own strawberries at Strawberry Fields
The simple act of twisting and plucking a red, ripe strawberries straight from the vine at Strawberry Fields is what has everyone flocking to this Palmview farm – to experience pure farm-to-table eating.
With 85% of Queensland’s strawberries hailing from the Sunshine Coast, the 70 acres of strawberry fields here play a sweet part. During their peak time, 50-60% of the farm is pick-your-own with more than 500 visitors traipsing through to harvest, buy some chocolate sauce and stay for a coffee.
3. Tour the farm at Maleny Dairies
Every day (except Sundays and public holidays) at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm you can join a walking tour at Maleny Dairies to learn more about this local dairy farm, feed the baby animals and taste test their milk – including the pasteurised-only Farmers Choice – and yoghurts.
The tour runs for around 1.5 hours and costs $11 per person. Pre-bookings are advised and if you want to watch the cows being milked, join the afternoon tour.
Word of advice: This property is stunning. So, BYO picnic or BBQ ingredients and stay to enjoy the gorgeous views (and snap a few more photos of those pretty cows).
4. Taste wine at Flame Hill Vineyard
Make your way to the highest point in Montville, on the Blackall Range, for wine tasting at Flame Hill Vineyard. It produces 100% estate wines from the vines on this property and a second property on the Granite Belt, all hand-harvested.
They offer a tight and surprisingly high-quality selection of drops from crisp pinot gris to the deep Montville shiraz, and a Kondalilla sparkling white. But this property has more than just wine to offer; in fact, it’s a mini food bowl within itself, put to excellent use by the chef, Adam Lugg. On the brunch menu, you’ll find their own eggs, while the beef and a lot of the game is theirs as well.
Start with a wine tasting at the cellar door so you can direct your decision on the menu if you’re staying for lunch (be sure to book ahead), grab a charcuterie and cheese platter to enjoy on the terrace, or book in for their Sunday brunch.
5. Learn beekeeping 101 at The Ginger Factory
You’ll have a degree in beekeeping after the Live Bee Show and Tastings tour with one of The Ginger Factory’s passionate beekeepers.
Become a full-blown honey advocate as you learn how the hierarchy in the hive goes down, what each bee’s role pertains, and see these workaholics hard at it through the demonstration behind a handy mesh screen and enclosed in glass. On the way out, duck into their retail precinct for take-home loot.
The Live Bee Show and Tastings tour runs 4-6 times daily and costs $15 each for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for children or $57 for a family.
5 more awesome locals to check out:
- Get the down-low on Australia’s most famous nut, the macadamia nut, and peer into the factory at Nutworks in Yandina (across the road from The Ginger Factory).
- Join the Camel Cuddles tour to get up-close-and-personal with the animals behind QCamel milk (on the first Saturday of the month, bookings are essential).
- Visit the Johnson family at Obi Obi Essentials to buy some green and olive leaf teas and olive oil, and give their alpacas a pat (call ahead to arrange your visit).
- Take your espresso skills up a notch and sign up to one of the training sessions on offer at Montville Coffee (make a booking online).
- Stop by Noosa Farmers Market on a Sunday morning (at The Noosa Australian Football Club on Weyba Road) to sample some of the best local produce the coast has to offer, with everything from smoked salmon and organic fruit and veggies, to marmalades and buffalo halloumi.