Toodyay food trail to unite farmers, city

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Tom ZaunmayrCountryman
VideoWA's latest food and wine trail has been launched in the Avon Valley, one hour east of Perth.

In the rolling hills of the Avon Valley, a concerted push towards sustainable farming is about to be put to the public test.

The 880ha Baillee Farm, 20km east of Toodyay, is one of many out the back of the Perth hills to undergo a transition into a more eco-friendly farming model in the past decade.

Baillee Farm owner Anthea Brown said an interest in food and social responsibility were behind the move away from the farm’s roots.

“Originally Baillee Farm was a small amount of cropping and wool sheep. We have evolved now where we are all Dorpers, Black Angus cows and goats,” she said.

“The property itself is in a very sensitive environment running down to the Avon Valley and up over the hills.

“In summer it is very dry and stock feed can be limited, so we have reduced our stocking rate, we have different animals, we rotate and we are predominately grass-fed with a small amount of cropping.”

Ms Brown said it was important for producers to have a social licence to operate.

That willingness to include and educate people about farming practices was a key element behind the push to establishing the Toodyay Food and Picnic Trail.

The trail was launched on Monday and features seven Toodyay producers, each keen to cultivate a healthy relationship between farmers and consumers.

“We have all heard about the city-country divide and bridging that gap, but unfortunately I don’t think we are,” she said.

“This brings people out. They get to see where their food comes from, they get to talk with the producer, and that does help.”

The trails’ stops are located within a few minutes’ drive of Toodyay.

It includes olive oils, dates, baked goods, wine, camel milk products, meats and small-batch local foods.

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