Slice of the Pie with Eastwell Farms and Noosa Cartel
The best collaborations are built on respect, strong communication and adding value to each other’s businesses. Deb Caruso meets the farmers and chef making magic together, and literally sharing a slice of the pie of business success.
Bryant and Susie Ussher of Eastwell Farms are leaders in regenerative farming practices having transformed their 162-hectare property in Kin Kin to become a shining example of how farmers can tread lightly.
Since 2018, they started running Eastwell Farms full-time to produce grass-fed cattle as well as gourmet mushrooms grown by Susie and her son Alex – a rainbow-spectrum of Oyster mushrooms in yellow, white, pink and shimeji blue oyster mushrooms as well as the curious but delicious Lion’s Mane.
Bryant has recently taken over as President of Country Noosa and their commitment to regenerative and responsible farming has seen them receive Slow Food Noosa’s Snail of Approval, recognition that they adhere and uphold the global philosophy of producing good, clean and fair food and actively engage and educate consumers and the industry on the benefits of local and seasonal produce.
The meat and mushroom magnificence is available to the public at Noosa Farmer’s Market and online through home-delivered boxes that offer the goodness of their grass fed beef as well as the fancy fungi.
Bryant said they also supplied beef and mushrooms to key restaurants with the right ethos such as XO, Noosa Boathouse, Noosa Beach House, Bask Eumundi and View by Matt Golinski at Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas, amongst others.
The former Head Chef of the iconic Ricky’s Riverfront Bar and Restaurant, Josh brings the Eastwell Farms produce to life in products that are cooked with the same love and attention that Bryant and Susie put into running their farm.
Stepping out of a commercial kitchen has allowed Josh to seek out smaller producers to showcase in his range of Noosa Cartel’s restaurant-quality fresh-frozen meals.
Josh features Eastwell Farms products in his Beef Bourguignon, Bolognaise Sauce and in seasonal specials, such as Beef Goulash and the Eastwell Farms Mushroom Tartlet with Little White Goats’ Cheese Feta for our Hello Sunshine Sunday Soirée. See the recipe here!
Susie said they loved working with Josh because they shared the same ethos and for his appreciation of good produce.
“Josh is so passionate about using local products and really engages with us,” she said. “He talks to us and seeks our feedback on the meals he makes. He’s got an open mind and is just so good to work with.”
The feeling is mutual.
“Susie and Bryant are great people and very easy to work with,” Josh said. “They have a passion for their product and their input is really important to me.
“For a long time, I have wanted to work with small-scale producers, which I couldn’t do when working in restaurants due to the volume required.
“Now it’s good because working directly with them I can communicate what I want; find out what they can provide and we work together to get the best out of their product and make my product taste good as well.”
While starting small, the aim is to grow both businesses in a sustainable way and another way this dynamic duo is achieving this is through Josh cooking a range of pies for Eastwell Farms.
“When we started working with Josh, he was looking to expand his offer and he already knew our product and was using it in his ready-made meals, so it made sense to work with him to create our pies,” Bryant said.
“They’ve been really well received and some of Josh’s clientele have now discovered us and are ordering our products.
“He’s helping to build our profile with the right customers.”
The pies are available to order online through Eastwell Farms and via Sunshine Beach General Store and Tewantin Market Garden and include Grass-fed Beef and Oyster Mushroom; and Grass-fed Beef, Bacon and Cheese.
Bryant said the response had been fantastic and there were plans to increase the range of flavours.
“The pie thing is getting exciting and could really move both businesses along,” he said.
“It’s exciting to think how we can help each other, support each other and grow in a more sustainable way.”
Josh said supporting a great local product to produce another great local product was what it’s all about.
“It’s good to know that we’re helping each other,” Josh says. “Being in small business you can feel alone but working with the people who are on the same journey is so rewarding.
“We both win.”
The respect, appreciation and admiration between farmer and chef is evident and adds an extra special flavour to local business success that we can all savour.