For a first-time event, Leura’s Harvest Festival last Saturday was a resounding success.
Hundreds of people crammed into the mall to see a large range of stalls selling everything from organic vegetables to chestnut pate, home preserving equipment to chook houses.
Others were cooking up a storm, from the humble sausage sandwich to exotic treats from local kitchens including Fairmont Resort, Vesta Bar and Bistro, Darleys and Josophans Chocolates. The menu included wild venison with local pine mushrooms, slow-braised Kanimbla Valley lamb or dark and milk chocolate hazelnut petit gateaux.
There were Bathurst wines and Bilpin cider, advice on solar power, home-made candles and even garbologists directing whether rubbish was recyclable, organic or just plain garbage.
There was also a series of talks covering backyard bee-keeping, the Slow Food movement, the rise of boutique cider and how to live more sustainably.
Barry Jarrott, president of the Leura Village Association, said the team behind the festival was “absolutely thrilled” with the feedback from both stallholders and the general public.
“I’ve been fielding comments ever since about having to run the event again next year. It seems that everyone feels the festival has legs and I definitely think it should become an important annual addition to the Blue Mountains events calendar.”
He said the search for stallholders had unearthed a huge range of eco-initiatives. “It was extremely satisfying to see many small food and sustainability organisations being represented on the day.”
“We were very impressed with the crowds and the huge interest in our competitions. Our celebrity judges had to taste almost 50 jams before picking the winners, and the pet chook show proved incredibly popular,” Mr Jarrott said.
He said the team of “garbologists”, headed by Marina Brown and her sustainability crew, meant that just 2.5 bins went into landfill from the day.
“It just goes to show that planning in advance and having a comprehensive plan around waste really can make a difference.”