Profiles

Chef Profile: Kirby Shearing

I have interviewed prominent Limestone Coast chef Kirby Shearing several times in recent months.

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Photo by Joanna Fincham

Kirby’s hunter-gatherer food philosophy is shaped by regionality and seasonality, and in a recent story I wrote for Outback magazine, he shares the thrill of the hunt; landing in fungi heaven after venturing deep into the woods:

“I was almost ready to give up after searching for about 45 minutes, but I turned a corner and came across the thickest mat of pine mushrooms, parasols and slippery jacks,” he says. “It’s true organic produce; wild mushrooms that have just popped out of the earth – there’s no one planting them, no one spraying – they have just grown at the perfect time in the right place.”

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Photo by Joanna Fincham

Here’s one of Kirby’s dishes: Native spiced kangaroo, coastal herbs and organic chickpea puree – delish! The recipe is in the October – November issue of Outback Magazine.

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South Australian Food Producers

It has been a busy few months uncovering the stories of some of South Australia’s most passionate producers.

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The work is part of a major national project designed to increase education about primary industries in our schools…teaching kids where our food and fibre comes from.

Rob2The passion, vision and lifestyles of the producers interviewed has been incredibly heartwarming and inspiring. They have built a strong foundation for the next generation of farmers and growers.

 

Real Weddings: Nadia Coppolino + Jimmy Bartel

Nadia and Jimmy Bartel are deeply entrenched in wedded bliss now, but the memories of their wedding day endure, with my story on their big day appearing in the Autumn/ Winter edition of Real Weddings magazine. Kristen Cook took the photographs and you can view a gorgeous collection on her blog. Flawless styling by The Style Co is shared in detail here.

Photography by Kristen Cook

Photography by Kristen Cook

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Photography by Kristen Cook

Recent freelance adventures

Freelance work has literally been taking me all over the countryside lately. Yesterday, I flew to Melbourne to conduct a video interview on Collins Street at Harley House. Imagine working so temptingly close to Hermes…

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Melbourne. Could it get any funkier?

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Last week I was in Lucindale, SA’s agricultural heartland – so pretty in spring.

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And last month, it was Bourke, NSW. The post office looks straight out of the movie Australia.

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Can’t wait to bring these stories to life…

Country Race Fashions – SA Life

Country style reigns supreme, with the Limestone Coast boasting a number of finalists in SA’s premier ‘Fashions on the Field’ competition. I recently interviewed three of the gorgeous ladies for the April 2014 edition of SA Life magazine,  discovering how a fire prevention officer, a swimming instructor and an electrician charmed the judges with their homegrown creativity. It’s not easy living in the country away from major department stores and boutiques, but these savvy girls know all about improvisation, with quick outfit changes in public toilets en route to the race track, and innovative hats sporting everything from wire trivets to chopsticks! What a transformation – love a ‘Before & After’ shot…

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My week – A Freelance Journalist

People often ask me what sort of work I do. Here’s what happened one week in April:

1. Distributed a media release promoting a regional event.

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2. Wrote about the weddings of three AFL footballers and nine other gorgeous couples for a high profile magazine.

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Image by Kristen Cook

3. Told the story of a farmer with an amazing attraction on his property (besides sheep) for another national mag.

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4. Proofed the final layouts of two previously written articles which are about to go to print for another national mag.

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5. Wrote a 1000-word article for a Local Government publication on behalf of a local council.

6. Scripted a new documentary for the rock lobster industry using previously recorded interviews.

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7. Lined up a series of homes and businesses to be photographed by an interstate magazine photographer and stylist visiting the region…

8. And was on standby to cover a court case for a newspaper. (Case fell through, but that’s ok.)

Always loving the variety.

 

 

Pitching the right story

Golden rule of pitching freelance stories: know the magazine’s vibe. I just knew Country Style readers would love the story of Burmese refugee Lal, who was taken under the wing of organic apple growers Chris and Michelle McColl. (You can read the previous blog post here.)

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Photograph by Sharyn Cairns

The story appeared in the November edition, and the feedback in the following month’s Letters to the Editor pages was heartwarming.

The tale of Chris and Michelle McColl giving refugees Lal Lian and his family new hope for the future touched me more than any story in Country Style. It served as a reminder that if we all considered others and shared our lives, such positive outcomes are possible. Thank you, Country Style, for sharing this story and giving us hope and the drive to help make other people’s futures brighter. – E.D., Kurrajong,NSW
 
…was so humbled to read the story of Lal Lian, and Chris and Michelle McColl in the November issue. Stories like these deeply hearten one’s spirit about Australians who do lend a hand to a stranger, and practise a generosity of spirit and a ‘fair go’. The McColls not only provided Lal and his family with the land to grow beautiful organic vegetables, but they also share meals with them regularly, which is even more impressive and requires commitment and energy. Of all the delightful stories in each issue, this one stands out as it reinforces that life is about ‘doing good for others’ and making a difference. The McColls make me proud to be an Australian. – L.T., Claremont, WA
 
The letters are in the gorgeous December edition – perfect summer holiday reading!

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SA Life Profile – Kim Longbottom

When I met Kim Longbottom from Padthaway’s Henry’s Drive Vignerons last year at a wine function, I knew her story would make a fabulous profile piece.

Kim_Longbottom_Henrys_Drive_LRKim owns and operates Henry’s Drive Vignerons, and she is a savvy business woman who thinks outside the square. For instance, she enlisted the help of the local country aero club to fly down a UK wine buyer with a busy schedule. They liked what they saw; the initial order was 16,000 cases.

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The cellar door is located just off the Riddoch Highway in SA’s Limestone Coast, and the business was named after Henry John Hill, the proprietor of the 19th century mail coach service that once traversed the landscape.

All of the wine brands have a strong postal theme, with labels like The Postmistress, The Scarlet Letter and Pillar Box Red.

Visitors are encouraged to rest and refresh at the cellar door, just as the mail coach once did at its various stops.

Kim’s story is in the 10th Birthday Issue of SA Life Magazine.

 

 

 

Mount Gambier Spring Show

When the Mount Gambier Show Committee ask me to manage the publicity for their 153rd event on October 25-26, I came up with a series of articles highlighting some of the real characters of this country institution.

bird-blog1I tracked down some terrific people like Ken Scott, who has been showing poultry for more than 70 years. “It’s very competitive, but realistically, once the bird is in the pen, it’s up to them – you can’t do anymore than that,” he says. 

Ken-Scott-Rhode-IslandI also profiled a pyrotechnician, a horticulture champion, a third generation showman, and a teacher who runs an enormously popular Ag Learning Centre – there are so many stories to tell, and I’m looking forward to being involved again next year.

The warmest of welcomes for a refugee

After moving to Australia as a refugee late last decade, Lal Lian was lured to Mount Gambier in 2010 by the promise of work in the horticulture industry.

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Photography by Sharyn Cairns

But the opportunity that knocked was beyond even his dreams. Kalangadoo apple growers Chris and Michelle McColl offered Lal almost a hectare of highly prized fully certified organic soil to produce his own crops.

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Photography by Sharyn Cairns

My story about this kind family man who accepted a helping hand in a new farming land is in the November 2013 issue of Country Style magazine. Editor Victoria Carey writes:

The story of how a couple of apple farmers at South Australia’s Kalangadoo gave Lal a plot of land on which to grow organic market vegetables, and the way he seized the opportunity with both hands, is one of the most inspiring we’ve had in the magazine recently.