Apr 3, 2024 | Local News

GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival 2024 takes you where food and wine is actually made

Vivienne Wynter

Food and wine festivals are a dime a dozen these days and ticket prices for fancy long table lunches and dinners can mean only the rich can enjoy them. The GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival boasts two points of difference: affordable ticket prices and the chance to get up close and personal with the region’s food and wine producers. GourMay’s signature event: a Gala Dinner Party at Imbil, costs around a third less than similar events closer to the coast. So why is the Mary Valley, 40 minutes inland from Noosa and two hours’ drive from Brisbane, hosting its own festival of food and drink? Abundant variety From Kybong to Kenilworth, the rich alluvial soil of the Mary River floodplain supports an abundant variety of food and drink produced by hundreds of farmers and makers. GourMay celebrates that variety. GourMay Coordinator Malcom Oakley says the festival ethos is a bit different from other food and wine festivals. ‘We are delighted the fabulous Matt Golinski is a part of GourMay Mary Valley. ‘He has always been an amazing supporter of our farmers, but GourMay is not about celebrities. ‘It’s about the passionate people who bring food to the table: from the grower to the producer and the chef.

John Tidy’s Organics will offer an on farm experience PHOTO www.queensland.com

‘This festival is not just about sitting down and eating and drinking,’ Mr Oakley said. ‘We are bringing people close to the producers, the farms and the actual places where the food and drink is made.’

GourMay Mary Valley Coordinator Malcom Oakley believes in bringing visitors close to food and drink producers

Mr Oakley said GourMay would showcase the diversity of food and drink produced in the valley. ‘Once upon a time, the Mary Valley was pineapple and green bean central, along with a thriving dairy industry,’ he said. ‘These days, farmers produce organic free range beef, chicken, pork, eggs, macadamia, avocado, persimmon, edible bamboo, pumpkin, goat cheese, leafy greens, yuzu, wine grapes and more.’

The Mary Valley offers more than pineapples and beans these days.

Events for every budget GourMay offers a month of (mostly ticketed) events starting on 1 May with an Opening Ceremony  at Honeybee Wellness Retreat hosted by ABC Radio Sunshine Coast journalist Jen Nichols and featuring local comedian Anna Brennan. Skyfall Entertainment will light up the night. The festival finishes with a three course Gala Dinner Party at Mary Valley State College on 1 June.

The Gala Dinner Party is a signature event PHOTO Leeroy Todd Photo and Film

The Gala Dinner Party will showcase Mary Valley food and wine with live entertainment from Aspy Jones (doing his well-loved covers), Favourite Kid and Dj PK from the Cube Nightclub along with a special (secret) show by internationally renowned performers. ‘We planned the mix of entertainers so there should be a tune for all ages to dance to,’ Mr Oakley said. Satellite events include a Bushfood Long Lunch at Kandanga Farm Store and Tour, Tapas and Tempranillo, a tour of the Certified Organic Kandanga Farm followed by tapas made with local produce and cooked by renowned chef Matt Golinksi. No tickets are required for Festival Day on 25 May at Imbil Town Square where there’ll be food vans, cooking demos, free entertainment and talks on farming and bush food. If you love a steam train ride, The Mary Valley Rattler is offering a special Mary Valley Food Trail & Rattler Experience. Two film events Slow Food Noosa is on board for GourMay this year, presenting the film: The Hundred Foot Journey at Kandanga Hall with a French inspired menu at its Slow Food Noosa Film with Food. Film fans of all ages may also enjoy the Mary Valley Film Society’s special screening of the family film Ratatouille with a ratatouille supper. For morning people, the Sunrise Breakfast with a glass of bubbles at The Avocado Tree Farm in Amamoor could be just the ticket. There’s also a regenerative farm tour, a paddock to plate lunch, camp oven cooking competition, and many other events to suit every taste and budget.

Delicious local produce

If you are someone who wonders if the food at farmers’ markets or organic cafés was really grown by the farmer, GourMay 2024 is a chance to actually meet the farmer who produced your food. For details of all the GourMay festival events, check out www.gourmaymaryvalley.com.au



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