Friday, 11 August 2017

The Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm

This article and all pictures used are the copyright of Brett Lothian, 2017 ©

The Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm

While traveling around Phillip Island in southern Victoria, Australia with my beautiful amazing girl, we came across the lovely little sea side hamlet of Rhyll, where much to my delight we found a Trout and Bush Tucker Farm that I just had to check out. Not being the keenest of fishermen, I wasn't particularly interested in fishing for the introduced Trout species, what intrigued me of course was the promise of bush tucker, and hopefully some interesting plants that I could learn some more about, with an eye toward potentially growing at home for food crops. 

Click on the photos to enlarge
Thankfully with the ever growing 'foodie' culture here in Australia, bush tucker is making a bit of a resurgence in popularity. For far too long our wonderful native food plants have been neglected for the European and American varieties, which is a great shame when we have so many exciting native species right here to utilize. Bush tucker of course has for tens of thousands of years been an integral part of the traditional knowledge of our native Australians, but is generally not something most people of European descent know a lot about today. 
'Warrigal Greens' Tetragonia tetragoniodes, a tasty leafy green native vegetable
Unfortunately with our ever increasingly specialized society, basic life skills like which plants you can eat and which you can not, are no longer taught to people in our modern western society, much to our detriment. Despite having food growing all around us, all of the time, most people today can not recognize it and fail to make the most out of our natural resources, limiting our ability to survive if for whatever reason, the super markets ever run dry. Utilizing bush tucker is not only smart in a survival sense, but it also is a great way to save money. Having formerly worked as a chef and restaurant manager, this has been a focus of mine for some time, and I can never learn enough about our native food and medicine plants.

The edible fruit of the 'Lilly Pilly' tree, Syzygium smithii
With 1.2 km of walking tracks through 7 acres of food crops, covering 27 different native food species, the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm is a truly educational experience. With largely excellent signage, full of useful information, you will definitely come across something here you will recognize but never knew you could eat. Some of the plantings have at the time of writing this, not yet reached maturity, but largely you can view (and taste) the wide variety of plants in all their glory. 

'Flinders Island Celery' Apium insulare

In the Farmhouse cafe onsite there are numerous different meals and food products you can order and buy, utilizing the native bush tucker grown on the farm as well as other locally sourced products, and of course delicious trout, that you have either caught yourself or that is supplied for you. Also onsite is a great little nursery where you can buy the majority of the native bush tucker plants grown on the farm, to grow yourself at home. So, if you are ever down this way, I encourage you to stop in and visit this excellent little farm and get into the amazing plants we have growing all around us. You will not be disappointed. For more information click on the following link for the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm website.
'Mountain Pepper' Tasmannia lanceolata
Following on from this story I will be writing a series of Bush Tucker articles, taking an in depth look at all the different species grown here on the farm, as well as many others that I happen to come across, covering the traditional as well as modern uses for these beautiful tasty plants that we have growing here in Australia, as well how to grow and care for them at home, so stay tuned!

By Brett Lothian

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