WINNING MIX: Katie and James Gerald on their farm near Tyalgum.
WINNING MIX: Katie and James Gerald on their farm near Tyalgum.

Tweed's a growing foodie destination of the world

FIRST there was Ink Gin, then came Stone and Wood beer, now the Tweed has a new gastronomical ace up its sleeve - cocktail syrup made from native Australian fruits.

Dubbing the Tweed the "new foodie destination of the world”, creators James and Katie Gerald have long dreamed of owning a farm and Tyalgum is where they finally achieved it.

It's here where they produce their Native Collection cocktail syrup range, which features seven natural Australian flavours including Davidson plum, finger lime, pepperberry and bunya nut.

Having grown up in Thailand together and later studied in England, the couple moved to Australia for a healthier lifestyle and to achieve their dream of launching their own small-scale farming and food business.

"We're really focused on the Tweed and see the potential in the Tweed as a new foodie destination, not just for Australia, but for the world,” James said.

"The produce is great and the community is just so supportive and there's a fantastic vibe about the place, the community really supports each other.

"That's why we bought in the Tweed, where we are the scenery is amazing and the soil is so fertile.”

Katie said they were fascinated by the native bush foods which were growing on their 42ha farm and wanted to experiment with them.

"We found the potential in Australian natives. Once we started tasting all different natives and thought they tasted amazing, we wanted to spread the word about them all,” she said.

"We think these are first-class ingredients which the world needs to know about.”

Caldera Fine Foods only uses natural and locally sourced ingredients in their boutique cocktail syrups.
Caldera Fine Foods grew from a fascination with native bush foods.

Katie said the farm's rich volcanic soil and the beautiful scenery in the Tweed made it the perfect place to set up shop.

"The landscape is so unique, it's beautiful, the small towns and villages are super-friendly.

"My mother's English/Irish and she said it reminds her of back home,” she said.

The couple have had no trouble settling into the Tweed and source all of their ingredients locally, including sugar from the mill at Condong.

Cocktail syrups are just the beginning of the couple's farming adventure.

They aim to use their farm as a research and development hub to realise their goal of innovative and sustainable use of produce from around the region.

"We don't believe the future is in mass farming, but small farming hubs and farms within the community,” James said.

"We want to make our farm the headquarters for all these innovative creators and attract people to come and see how produce is being grown in a small-scale way.”

With a large focus on educating farmers about resilience and regenerative agriculture, James believes he can help Tweed farmers who are growing terrific produce but need help marketing their product.

"I think farmers need a little bit of help spreading the word about their products. They're great products but there's been a big change in the industry and everyone wants to source from local growers and farmers and we want to help make use of that,” he said.

The syrup range is being trialled in 15 eateries including Bombay Cricketers Club and Taverna in Kingscliff and other top eateries on the Gold Coast.

Katie said she loved what different venues were doing with their product.

"It's so uniquely Australian and a lot of tourists are coming here and it's exciting seeing chefs and mixologists wanting to use our native ingredients,” she said. "The plan is to take these flavours overseas as well, to make them as recognisably Australian as the macadamia.”