A small island produce industry has made some of Australia’s food experts sit up and take notice with a Gold Medal at the recent 2016 Delicious Produce Awards.
Pretty Produce is the brainchild of Macleay Island resident and keen fresh produce exponent, Simone Jelley.
She has overcome a few hurdles with a positive direction which has culminated in the highest award possible by the Australia food industry.
Names like Maggie Beer, Delicious magazine’s Kerrie McCallum and Matt Moran are synonymous with the annual awards, now in their 11th year.
Simone, with husband and farming partner David, was fortunate to be at the Miele sponsored awards held on September 12 at the famous Pier One at the Sydney Harbour Hotel.
Some of Australia’s most renowned chefs and food industry leaders joined the Delicious. team at the annual awards ceremony to celebrate the country’s most outstanding ingredients, inspiring small and sustainable producers, farmers’ markets, innovators, chefs and regions.
Sixteen awards were presented, including three new awards: In the Bottle, celebrating Australia’s artisan drink makers; Outstanding Design, recognising the artists and designers whose products enhance our cooking and dining experience; and Outstanding Region – Readers’ Choice award.
Delicious. editor-in-chief Kerrie McCallum said: “Nominations for the 2016 delicious. Produce Awards were, for the first time, opened exclusively to industry experts, and this year we received more new and exciting entries than ever before. Innovation was a big factor that set good produce apart from exceptional produce. I would like to congratulate all of our winners and gold medallists.
Simone Jolley was delighted when Pretty Produce was named as one of the exclusive Gold medallists. Pretty Produce won for the category: Leaf Mixes and Edible Flowers (Qld).
Simone was ‘rapped’ to have won this year, particularly following a very busy period.
“We have established two farms and have started sending our produce that is grown on Lamb Island to the top three restaurants in Brisbane, and well as to new Sydney and Melbourne markets,” she told The Friendly Bay Islander.
She said she was particularly proud that the Pretty Produce was being grown and produced ‘right here on our islands’.
“It is amazing to see the ripple effect that comes from what started out as a small island project.”
She said the potential, aided by the Gold Medal win, was now ‘considerable’.
Pretty Produce started in as an upscaled kitchen garden in 2012, supplying unusual edible leaf and edible flowers to the local community on Macleay Island, part of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.
Their growing practices have been ‘passionately and specifically geared to balance with such a magnificent unspoilt conservation area like our islands’, Simone says.
“In 2015, the journey began in earnest when we settled on a stunning 12 acre spot on Lamb Island. It is the perfect location for our new directions,” she added.
The Delicious. Produce Awards gala event was hosted by Matt Moran who said: “I was once again lucky enough to be a part of the National Judging Panel for the Delicious. Produce Awards. Every year I am so excited by the quality of produce. This year I tasted some of the best seafood, organic vegies and cheese I have ever tasted. As a chef, it is a really exciting time for the Australian food industry and so much of that comes down to the quality and accessibility of our produce.”