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Byron Shire
June 4, 2023

Harvest Deli hits a new high

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A selection of Harvest dishes

Simon Haslam

Harvest Deli is a unique European-style deli inside a converted Queenslander in the heart of Newrybar. Recently, the ‘deli experience’ has expanded, with a closer connection to the restaurant, new food on the menu, and the chance to dine inside the deli itself.

Deli chef Iohne Simpson, who formerly ran The Spotted Pig in Lindendale, and then in Lismore before her premises were destroyed by flood, is excited by the expanded role, especially the chance to work with the historic Harvest oven, which is around 120 years old.

While the sophisticated and popular Harvest food experience has been integral to the town’s modern popularity, ‘the oven is the beating heart of Newrybar’, says Iohne, ‘so to be able to be involved with that is thrilling. I admire it as a piece of equipment – to be standing in front of that and cooking is one of the best things about the job. I also love having the chance to be super-creative with the Harvest team; I feel very lucky to have found a home.’

‘We’ve introduced a sit-down menu, which is available to eat in or takeaway. We don’t use the old oven for sourdough at the moment, but we do use it for smoked meats for sandwiches, vegetables, smoked trouts… we make as much as possible onsite.’

You can now enjoy an all-day menu 7:30am–2pm, and choose to dine in, although the options of enjoying meals on the balcony (a fantastic place for people-watching), or in the gardens are still there. There are classics like local avo on toast with smoked feta, Bangalow sweet pork and fennel sausage rolls, or heartier dishes like wood-smoked ocean trout on house rye with Harvest pickles and soft-boiled egg, and special deli rice bowls with the best of what’s in season.

Iohne has also taken over running the bakery. ‘We make focaccias, breads, rolls, rye breads, and pastries onsite, with the support of Bread Social for sourdough. And we have more bakery and pastry items coming out in the future,’ she says.

The Cheese Room in the deli has also had to make room for a new product, salamis, which are in the testing stage right now. ‘I’m pretty interested in making the salamis,’ says Iohne, ‘we have a fantastic gardener, Ritchie, who has shared some of his old ancestral Italian recipes for our salamis – to say they are pretty old-school is an understatement. At the moment we are using Bangalow Sweet Pork as the base, and making very traditional salami, but we have plenty of plans to expand the range.’

Another thing Iohne appreciates about the job is the fact it’s a social hub. ‘When you are in the deli, and you see people just rocking up, it feels good. The deli provides a place for visitors and locals to meet and be part of the community. We’ve moved the coffee machine so the whole front area is prime people-watching space now. We’ve also had to make a bit of room inside the deli for sales, because we are making a lot of our own range, and it will grow; we’re using as much local produce as possible. For example, we make our own terrines in the meat room and work with Fair Game venison to make a terrine, which is sold around the local supermarkets under the Harvest brand.’

Iohne started work in the local pub at 14, in her small town in Staffordshire, and finds it satisfying to work at Harvest as, she says, ‘you do feel like you’re in a small town, eating with a view of the edible garden (in what’s known as the Village Green). At the Harvest Deli, you feel like you’re eating simple locally sourced, but high-quality, food in the country, and I think people find that as satisfying to enjoy as I do.’

Harvest Newrybar, 18-22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar Village – harvest.com.au.

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