Winter Harvest Festival 2018

Thousands flocked to Aratula on Saturday July 7 for the 2018 Winter Harvest Festival.

Eat Local Week’s signature event continues to go from strength-to-strength with the authentic food festival proving a massive hit with lovers of fine fare yet again.

The rain which had lingered ominously in the previous 24 hours cleared to reveal sunshine and it was a magnificent day in the country as the enthusiastic crowd, estimated to number 14,000, savoured all the Scenic Rim has to offer.

Eat Local week coordinator Genevieve Windley said it was easily the biggest turnout in the event’s history with every stallholder selling food made from ingredients produced locally.

“There’s lots of smiling faces, everyone is happy and everything is running smoothly,” she said.

“I’m seeing people with bags and armfuls of fresh produce. There’s a lot of new collaborations this year and people are loving them. From beer ice-cream to milk and honey vodka, to beetroot cordial, and dragon fruit and finger lime beer.”

Ms Windley said a small but dedicated team organised the festival, with countless volunteers, local clubs, businesses and farmers all pulling together to ensure its success.

“We’re very thankful for everyone’s support.” she said.

Scenic Rim Regional Council mayor Greg Christensen said the increase in the number of people passing through the gates, from 12,500 in 2017, indicates the brand of the area is strengthening.

“What an absolute cracker,” he said.

“The weather is perfect and there’s crowds of people enjoying the experience of great food from the people who grew it. That’s what’s great about this – it’s connecting a new generation of people with the origins of great produce, and great produce makes delicious food. Every member of our community should be proud that the rest of south-east Queensland wants to come and try what we enjoy every day.”

Local artist Terina Smith echoed the mayor’s sentiments, saying it was bloody brilliant to see all of the people from the big smoke visit the little community to sample what residents take for granted each day.

“Everyone is saying ‘it’s so fresh’, but that’s kind of just normal for us,” she said.

“People from Brisbane don’t realise that the salad bowl of Australia is sitting on their doorstep. It’s great that they are now able to look for our local products, like 4 Real Milk and Bunjurgen Estate Winery verjuice, on their supermarket shelves.”