Tassie Made: Vegetables and Fruit

Tasmania has a reputation for incredible produce and amazing wine due in no small part to its rich fertile soils, pleasant climate and having the cleanest air in the world. There are legions of artisan producers in Tasmania whose products are making waves on the national and international stage. I had the privilege of visiting some of these amazing people in Tasmania earlier in the year.

Bill's Beetroot Marmalade

For most Aussies their only contact with beetroot is when it falls out of a hamburger and stains their clothes. Beetroot is in fact one of the healthiest vegies around, and has been used since Romans times as everything from an aphrodisiac to a source of fibre and potassium and as a detoxing agent. The Bill after whom this home-made marmalade is named works late into the night peeling and chopping the beetroot that goes into this distinctively different, yummy and extremely versatile product. This spread goes on just about everything – bread, poached salmon, tuna and red kidney beans and roast pork, or mixed with olive oil, then tossed through a rocket and goats curd cheese salad. Bill’s Beetroot Marmalade is manufactured by Tasmanian Gourmet Kitchen.


The Tazziberry, or Chilean Guava, is a small bright red fruit that grows wild in Chile. The size of a blueberry with a taste described as a cross between pineapple, strawberry and apple, the berries are used for gourmet cooking, liqueur, in a gourmet range of smoked sausages and are being tested for use in cheeses and icecream. Tas Myrtus Berries Pty Ltd (TMB) recently started commercial production of M. ugni berry under the registered trade name Tazziberry in Tasmania.


Tasmania has the ideal clean and cool climate for producing wasabi – the hot green plant used extensively in Japanese cooking. Farmer Ian Farquhar is the founder of the state’s wasabi industry and grows wasabi for restaurants on the Australian mainland and in Japan. Prior to 2000, the Australian restaurant trade did not have access to fresh wasabi.
Farquha’s ingenuity and passion for wasabi led to the creation of a unique and quirky cheese – Ashgrove Farm’s wasabi cheese. What started out as an experimental product has turned into a huge success for Farquhar and Deloraine cheesemaker, Jane Bennett. After months of testing and refinement, Bennett and Farquhar’s wasabi cheese became a big hit in Japan.


Truffles are grown under oak and hazelnut trees in northern Tasmania. The first French black truffle was unearthed in northern Tasmania in the winter of 1999, the culmination of years of work to establish a truffle industry in the state. The black nuggets are now farmed by some 30 growers and hobbyists.
Tasmania is ideally positioned to produce the ‘black gold’. It is located at roughly the same latitude as France and Italy – where truffles originated. Furthermore, Tasmanian truffle production takes place in the European off-season, avoiding competition.

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