In a previous post I talked about my visit to Pemberton with my dear friend Emma. We were invited to the launch of Sophie Zalokar’s gorgeous book Food of the Southern Forests in between visits to meet local producers in the region. What gave me the warm and fuzzies was not just the close knit community and their love of local food, but the determination among the locals to keep food real. And no matter how you look at it, we all benefit from that.
And then there was Sophie. Sophie and husband Chris moved to their 19 acre property surrounded by forest 6km from Pemberton in 2005. Chris built the cabins and the Field Kitchen restaurant, and they opened the doors in 2011. Foragers boasts a farm-based cooking school and dining room, and self-contained cabins which is where Emma and I stayed.
On arrival we checked in and promptly made our way to a launch dinner at the Field Kitchen. I dined on pickled kale and fresh ricotta wraps with wattleseed za’atar, crumbed lamb breast with cardoons, mustard greens and anchovy mayonnaise (anchovies; a way to win my heart), sourdough bread made in-house with house-churned butter, barramundi with toasted quinoa, marjoram, borage and buttered sorrel, iceberg lettuce wedges with salad cream, lovage and sunflower seeds, and for dessert, chamomile cream with rhubarb jelly and ginger thin crumbs. Hungry? The aim of the Field Kitchen is to source quality local produce so dishes were prepared with produce from Denmark, Oakford, Kirup, Picton, Pemberton, Derby and Northcliffe. As I mentioned previously, keeping it real.
The following day we had coffee with Sophie, Chris and other guests, and Emma and I then made our way to meet Brian and Val Thornley of Pemberton Limes. I am a longtime fan of lime, it is by far my favourite citrus. Emma and I arrived late due to getting lost (city folk, tsk!), but Val and Brian still met us with smiles and took us on a tour of their gorgeous property.
They planted some 1,120+ Tahitian lime trees in 2010 after taking two years to get the soil ready. They pick the limes from April through to the end of June, and in the meantime they get to enjoy their gorgeous property set in the karri forest.
Val kindly put on a huge spread for lunch and as we clinked glasses she said, “to new friends”. Indeed.
I am yet to dive into cooking something from Sophie’s book, but when I make it into the kitchen again it’s the first thing I’ll do. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the memories from our gorgeous Pemberton trip with the friendly people we met and the fantastic food we ate.
I was invited to Pemberton by the lovely Melissa of Cork and Cheese. All opinions are my own.