Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of the Fifth Tweed Artisan Food Weekend at the Minjungbal Museum and Cultural Centre that will see ten events running over this weekend.
The weekend will feature Wijirr (native food) and native produce that has been sourced locally, and crafted with knowledge passed down through generations. Local producers, chefs and venues come together for a tantalizing weekend of events that celebrate the people and the place with ten events throughout the weekend.
Tweed Elder Aunty Desrae Rotumah performed the Welcome to Country and Ernie Williams did the smoking ceremony to launch the event.
Chairperson of the Tweed Aboriginal Co-Operative Nicole Rotumah-Weir spoke of the importance of the historical site and Tweed Aboriginal Co-Operative and the Minjungbal Museum and Cultural Centre.
Uncle Franc Krasna who will be shaing bush tucker yarns spoke of how ‘this was a place of ceremony, dance and food. Four to five hundred people from the North Cost and South East Queensland would gather and stay for 3–4 weeks.
‘We have a lot of respect for our environment. In my childhood our family would get together on weekends and share our food resources. A lot of our food was seasonal and we knew about the season.’
CEO of the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council, Leweena Williams, said that ‘the practice of food as currency continues to this day. Someone might have mud crab, pipis, or oysters and we share and swap them.
‘For our old people who can’t get back out onto Country to collect the food, we continue our Cultural responsibility of providing these wild resources to them in season.
‘The importance of the work that precedes the food landing on the plate is really important. When we are collecting wild food the knowledge of the why, how and when is critical. This is how you take care of Country so you can get the best possible food produced by land and water. Understanding and being respectful of this relationship and responsibility, honours our Old people and Country and community who are still very much connected to these places.’
Looking after Country
‘You look after the land and it will look after you. We are not separate from our stories and food is part of our stories,’ explained Kyle Slabb a Bundjalung leader and knowledge holder.
‘There were some young fellas at the beginning of COVID that decided to eat only off Country. After a while I asked one of them how he was feeling. He looked good and said that the thing that had really happened was his mind was really clear. If you look after country, country will look after you.’
Enjoy a range of events
Throughout the weekend you can enjoy a range of events including a native food degustation hosted by the iconic Mavis Kitchen & Cabins in the Tweed Valley. The ‘Native Summer’ Friday night kicks off with a woodfire damper in the garden, storytelling by a local Elder, a 3-course dinner menu that includes organic wines and finishes with a herbaceous cocktail by the fire.
There is a full-day Sunday culinary tour along the river on the Wollumbin Spirit from Tweed Heads to the historical sugar cane town of Tumbulgum. Experience a day of authentic storytelling with Gary Kafoa & Dan McCoy, award winning poetry and live music.
Back on land indulge in a three-course meal at the picturesque House of Gabriel on the banks of the Tweed River. Feast on mud crab pies, smoked seafood, seared kangaroo fillets and a dessert of wattle seed pavlova, tropical fruits and lemon myrtle. All paired with Stone & Wood and Husk Distillery beverages.
Sustainability essential to Country
‘It is encouraging and exciting to see there are more and more Chefs and Cooks utilising and being creative with bush tucker/local produce from the land, water and where the land meets the water within the Tweed Shire,’ said Tina Pidcock from the Tweed Aboriginal Co-operative Society.
‘Sustainability has been key to how our ancestors have managed and harvested wild foods from the land and aquatic systems and we continue to do this through our knowledge and understanding of place and seasons. We are the longest continuing culture in the world because our practices are about sustaining the land, the people, and the lore and honouring our local Goori community,’ she explained.
‘We thank and appreciate all the amazing food artists who are harvesting and celebrating the local wild produce from our beautiful Tweed Region and we wish them all the best during the 5th Tweed Artisan Food Week.’
Find out about events and purchase tickets here.