Offcuts – The Quarterly Update

Reel Food Nights

Why keep the punchline til the end! We’re opening with the biggest news of late… Plenty are absolutely over the moon to be supporting the Brisbane Chapter of Youth Food Movement in the upcoming Reel Food Nights, an event aimed at sparking open conversation about the current state of our food system and what it might look like in the future.

Our chef, Michael Hoare is one of the five panellists for the event and we couldn’t be more proud.

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Michael has been flat out on the pans and tongs in the Plenty kitchen for the last nine months. He conceives and executes our ever-changing menu based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, while still producing dishes steeped in the influence and style he has developed during his 20 plus years of cooking. His commitment to promoting local produce and supporting the struggling Aussie farmers is a key factor in the evolution and ongoing success of Plenty. We’re his biggest fans and we can’t wait to see him up there on Saturday 30th August amongst the panel, including Richard Webb, Tom Maguire, Carol Richards and Alf Orpen. Check out the event details http://bit.ly/RFN14Bris

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Produce

With Spring lapping at our toes we’re looking forward to seeing some wonderful produce just around the corner.  Chef’s notebook is sketched out with ideas for asparagus, peas, corn and (close to my own heart) Dutch Creams. The pre-Spring boon for us is strawberries… Our wonderful berry suppliers are just about to drop the motherload here at Plenty. Chef is rallying the troops for an ‘all hands on deck’ day to produce jam, cordial, curd, maybe a little pavlova and even some dried strawberries for muesli.

And of course our beautiful tomatoes keep rolling in from Kalbar on the Scenic Rim. Our Plenty Patriach makes the weekly trip to Fassifern Valley Produce to collect boxes of the little juicy gems. The smell of real tomatoes never loses its magic for me.

 

 

 

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Retail

Late July saw us slapping labels on our very first range of Plenty condiments and sauces. A huge thanks to Bel for producing the artwork. Our amazing kitchen team turned juicy grapefruit from Tamborine Mountain into marmalade. The aforementioned tomatoes from Kalbar gave birth to ketchup, dried tomato pasta sauce, green tomato and jalapeno relish and a punchy Tunisian tagine sauce. We’re loving the response to the packaged range, but we would be so chuffed to hear back from you guys about how you’ve enjoyed the products… What have you cooked? How have you used them? Let us know next time you’re in, or shoot us a post on Facebook or Instagram.

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Menu

We received many notes in the suggestion box regarding wanting to try multiple dishes but not having the time to do so. So, we’re moving to monthly menu changes! Our menu being an ode to the seasonal availability of ingredients, and the Chef’s whim and fancy, there will still be slight changes as we move through each month but you’ll be afforded more time to try those plates that grab your fancy.

There’s just under two weeks left to get your taste buds acquainted with this menus rockstar dishes like pulled pork omelette with roast corn, cheddar, green tomato and jalapeno relish and sour cream… blistered heirloom tomatoes on toast with grilled haloumi, toum and pistachios… and the quintessential Michael dish (one he’s held close to his heart since he conceived it in his early days as Head Chef at The Chelsea), poached eggs on potato hash with carrot jam, feta and bacon.hash

 

 

Café News

From real kitchens to point of sale systems to milkshakes, the changes keep on rolling on here at Plenty.

Our intention to get bee hives on the roof is still very much on ‘the list’, but we are seeing some further delays… as Jack from Bee One Third explains “Word from out west is that it’s been the driest season to date in the past 10 years or so, and the beekeepers are struggling a little to propagate their hives”. But hopefully in late October we’ll see some movement on this one.

Other whispers amongst the grown-ups include wood fired oven, fresh juices and herb gardens… stay tuned!

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It’s been a busy nine months since we opened the doors to Plenty West End. Each week sees fresh faces amongst the familiar crowd of beloved regulars. We as a business and as real people can’t thank you enough for the support you bring. A regular came in last week, following our usual pleasantries he enquired “have they received any rain out on the farm”, referring to Kilbilli. For those of you familiar with the Plenty lineage, Kilbilli Farm is run by Jess Hodges and Kyna Morice, part of our family. There was something so incredibly lovely and real about this simple exchange… such genuine concern in his tone. Yet another stirring reminder of why we do what we do.

So from us here at Plenty, thank you.

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Know Your Greens

Know your farmer. A simple model for sourcing produce. A simple model for quality control. A simple model for an exciting new venue.

This is the first in a series of stories exploring the locally grown food and produce that will stock our fridges and pantry at Plenty and the farmers we are getting to know in the process.

Robertson's Hydroponics, Toowoomba

Robertson’s Hydroponics, Toowoomba

Kurt Robertson, owner of Robertson’s Hydroponics, knows his greens.

For the past 17 years Kurt has honed his craft in Toowoomba on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, focusing on a small range of quality produce.

“We basically grow four baby leaf productions, that’s mesclun, spinach, rocket, watercress and we also do grow specialty herbs, all hydroponically grown,” he said.

“we grow in our own specially created potting mix and all undercover.”

At age 17 Kurt had saved enough money from working on a farm to build seven of his own tables (an area for growing crop) and slowly saw his business grow.

“I worked seven days a week and put back into the business and now we are running 150 tables and growing,” he said.

A recent expansion has seen Robertson’s begin to supply their produce directly to venues, something Kurt sees real benefit in.

“When we were selling direct to wholesalers you don’t get a lot of feedback, they’re more about the dollar value,” he said.

“Selling directly to cafes and restaurants has provided real feedback that has helped us provide consistent quality produce.”

Sharing an ethos of sustainability and wholesome offerings, Robertson’s Hydroponics are just one of many local producers helping Plenty to forge links between our city community and our regional farmers.

“I love doing it, it’s not a job to me it’s my garden and it’s a lifestyle,” he said.

Plenty, West End. Know Your Farmer.