Derwent Valley’s finest produce and how to find it
Image credit: Nadine Gray
The Derwent Valley is home to Tasmania’s most passionate and caring primary producers. Using sustainable farming practices, clean air and an abundance of water to produce some of the region’s finest farms, vineyards and orchards. The Derwent Valley provides a world-class assortment of seasonal produce available at the farm gate and local markets. Below are our local tips on how to find and enjoy the fruits of our labour.
1. Agrarian Kitchen Eatery
Rodney Dunn and Severine Demanet’s most recent venture is the Eatery, set in a renovated building which is part of the historic Willow Court Mental Asylum in New Norfolk. This light filled building is decorated in an understated style that immediately makes guests feel both relaxed and excited by what is to come. Service is attentive and knowledgeable, the food is simple and wonderful. At the time of writing (2020) the Eatery has been bestowed with two hats and voted by Delicious Magazine as the best in Tasmania. All produce is sourced locally most often from small farms and growers who deliver it themselves to the back door. There are no multinational food companies or long distance food miles in this equation. Just farmer, chef, you. How it should be.
Image credit: The Agrarian Kitchen
Where: Willow Court New Norfolk.
When: All year round.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, 11 am to 4 pm.
Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School
When you attend one of the classes you get to spend a day being guided through the daily changing seasonal menu by Rodney. It is the little things that make the day wonderful: the friendly relaxed environment, the little pieces of know-how imparted by Rodney, the laughs with your classmates, the sharing of stories. Visit their website.
Image credit: bowy007 IG
Where: Until mid-2020 the Agrarian Kitchen Cooking will be located at Lachlan and intend to be moved into their new location at Willow Court later in 2020.
When: Classes can be booked on their website at The Agrarian Kitchen.
Sally Wise Cooking School
Sally is something of an institution here in Tasmania. She has been writing cook books, offering advice and conducting cooking classes for decades. Sally’s cooking school is at her rural property in Molesworth which she shares with her husband Robert and a number of adored family pets. Whichever class you choose you will come away with a full tummy, happy heart and a masterclass in home cooking wisdom. Check Sally’s website for cooking class dates. They are very popular with Tasmanians and mainlanders alike so you need to be quick.
Where: Molesworth, Derwent Valley Tasmania.
When: Sally’s full 2020 Class Calendar can be found at sallywise.com.au
2. Westerway Berry Farm
As you head out from New Norfolk towards Mt Field National Park you’ll find another Valley favourite. The Westerway Berry Farm is predominately a raspberry and black current farm. The family producers over 100,000 kilograms of each per annum, with a smaller amount of berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and red currents. The Clark family grows an older variety of raspberry known as the Williamette, which is soft and delicious. As its shelf life is very short, it is not suitable for extensive transportation so Westerway farm only supplies fresh berries to the Tasmanian local market.
Image credit: caityclarkson IG
Where: Westerway, Derwent Valley Tasmania.
When: 9 am to 5 pm, late November to May.
Strawberries – November/December.
Raspberries – December/ January. Autumn flush in March/April.
Blueberries – January.
Red-currants – January.
Jams, coffee, ice cream, drinks also available.
Glossy, plump cherries are the quintessential Australian summer fruit and you’ll find these in abundance along the river flats of the River Derwent. Our climate here allows for a gentle growing period which allows the fruit to ripen slowly. We also proudly remain free of a number of pests and diseases which means lower level use of chemicals.
Where: Cherry Farms in the valley selling at their farm gate include Fallowfield Farm, The Nook, King Rock Cherry Farm Boyer, and The Cherry Hut at Granton.
When: Seasonal late December early January (cherries have a very short season)
Derwent Valley has a similar cool climate to the rest of Tasmania. Mountains to the west offer protection from the prevailing westerly weather systems, leaving the valley a calm, sunny area with cool evenings.
Meadowbank’s vines were first planted in the 1970’s and today Meadowbank is regarded as one of the best sites for quality Resiling, Chardonnay, Gamay, Harvest Sparkling and Pinot Noir. Currently partnering with Peter Dredge, the Meadowbank label continues to go from strength to strength recently scooping the 2017 Young Gun of Wine People’s Choice Award and a range or flowing reviews from the critics. Visit their website.
Where: Wines can be purchased direct from their website, from local restaurants and bars, or you can arrange a private tasting from Hobart arriving in style by river with Above and Beyond.
When: All year round.
Steve Lubiana is a fifth generation wine maker, who alongside his wife, carved out a niche in the Tasmanian wine industry upon the opening of their property in 1990. The vineyard wraps itself around the picturesque foothills of the River Derwent Estuary. Come for a tasting, stay for the food. The Italian-inspired fresh, seasonal menu is based around what comes out of the property’s biodynamic garden and what can be baked in the wood-fired oven located adjacent to the cellar door. Visit their website.
Where: Granton, Derwent Valley Tasmania.
When: Osteria and Cellar Door 11 am – 4 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. May be closed some winter months.
Wines can be purchased direct from online store.
Perched on the north-facing slopes which run down to the River Derwent, the vineyard has a perfect aspect for the production of cool-climate wines. The cellar door is located within their original farm house built in the early 1900’s and the tasting room is quite rustic, yet their wines are reasonably priced, fresh and energetic. Visit their website.
Image credit: iamlaurenleigh IG
Where: Granton, Derwent Valley Tasmania.
When: 10 am to 5 pm, daily.
Lawrenny Estate – Gin
If you like supporting small brands and uncovering little known gems then Lawrenny Estate won’t disappoint. Located near the upper Derwent Valley town of Ouse, the Mace family have begun their dream business to offer a true paddock to bottle distillery. While the Estate Whisky is being produced from barley grown in the fields, malted in-house then brewed, distilled, barreled and matured onsite. Lawrenny Estate has three current products to taste and purchase – Lawrenny Van Diemen’s gin with fresh citrus, fennel and vanilla, the high strength 1818 settlers gin and the Saint Clair Vodka, a contemporary vodka incorporating a small batch distillation of roses, lemon and thyme. Visit their website.
Image credit: Lawrenny Estate
Where: Ouse, Derwent Valley Tasmania.
When: 10 am to 4 pm, 7 days for direct sales. Purchase online at Lawrenny.com
Nant Estate – Whisky
Nant Estate sits higher in altitude than many traditional Scottish distilleries. The historic town of Bothwell is the regal home of one of the top whiskies in the world.
Visit their website.
Where: Bothwell Tasmania.
When: The Atrium Restaurant and Cellar Door is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 noon to 4 pm and tours can be arranged by appointment only.
New Norfolk Distillery – Rum
Derwent Valley local, Tarrant Derksen’s vision is to reinvigorate and nurture the love for rum. Although the contemporary distillery is yet to be established at New Norfolk’s Willow Court, it will be the first dedicated Tasmanian rum distillery in over 200 years. Their Near Horizon Spiced rum and Misty Valley Silver Spirit can be sampled at the New Norfolk Market most Saturdays between 8 am to 1 pm Visit their website.
Bushy Park is where the hops industry started and is clearly flourishing today. Ebenezer Shoebridge established the hops over 150 years ago and built the majority of oast houses which remain dotted through the Derwent Valley today and the original homestead, Hawthorn Lodge, thrives as a busy B&B and tea room. Tasmanian-grown hops are used to flavour beer in almost every country in Europe and only 40% is used for domestic demand. Bushy Park Hall includes a hops museum and you can try a local ale hand-pumped from 2MT Brewery in Hayes (check website for open hours) or Eleventh Order Brewery in New Norfolk
Image credit: Pat Murray
Banjo’s New Norfolk Market
High Street turns into a hub of activity between 8 am to 2 pm every Saturday in New Norfolk. With almost 100 local stallholders who travel locally and afar, the market is a treasure trove of fresh local produce, multicultural food vendors, bric a brac, arts and crafts.
Lachlan Twilight Market
Lachlan growers, makers, shakers, bakers and creators unite Friday evenings 5 pm to 8 pm through summer by arrangement. Next summer market Friday February 7 from 5 pm at the Lachlan Community Hall.
New Norfolk Community Garden
The Community Garden beside the Lachlan River managed by the Derwent Valley Community House provides fresh in-season produce through an honesty box system. Located on the The Avenue down the walking track along the river open Monday to Thursday 9:30 am to 2:30 and Friday’s 9:30 to 12 noon. New Norfolk Community Market 3rd Sunday of every month. Derwent Valley Community House 10 am to 2 pm.
Image credit: stephenjpeak IG
If you get to sample all that is on offer you will be very pleased with yourself. Otherwise, plan another trip for when the season is right for what your are interested in.
We’d also love to hear all about it. What was your most tasty #DerwentValleyTasmania memory or discovery?
Please let us know and share your trip with us.