Garry Kadwell, a fourth-generation potato farmer from Crookwell in the NSW Southern Tablelands, has been named the delicious. magazine Harvey Norman Producer of the Year for his nutty flavoured Andean Sunrise potatoes.
The yellow-coloured potatoes caught the eye and tastebuds of Lennox Hastie, the head chef and owner of Sydney’s Firedoor, and this together with Garry’s work in farm regeneration earned him a nomination for the coveted award.
Garry’s gourmet offering won the NSW award and then a gold medal in the national awards. Now Kadwell has been named Producer of the Year in the delicious. Harvey Norman Awards in the ‘From the Earth’ category.
The Muster spoke to Garry as he was driving to Sydney for a weekend of celebration following his latest win.
This included dinner with Hastie at Firedoor in Sydney’s Surry Hills and an appearance to speak to growers and consumers at the Eveleigh Markets at Carriageworks.
Garry said while slightly concerned about where he was going to park his ute for the weekend, he was thrilled to have been named Producer of the Year.
He already supplies a number of top Sydney restaurants. Diners at NSW and federal parliament in Canberra can also expect to feast on the Andean Sunrise delights.
Conservation efforts also recognised
Garry said the nomination and subsequent wins recognise the regenerative work that he has been doing on his land with over 30 per cent of his 300 acres now under conservation.
“With the delicious. awards it is not just about the produce, but it is also about the story behind it,” he told The Muster.
“We are fifth generation potato farmers now and with our regenerative work and case studies on soil we won the Landcare Australia state award for innovation in agriculture so there has been a big background that ties in nicely with this award.Garry Kadwell, certified seed producer and grower of gourmet Andean Sunrise potatoes
Garry says the land regeneration process has resulted in an increase in the breeds of beneficial insects which in turn means he needs to rely less on chemicals.
“Thirty two per cent of our farm is in conservation areas and the connection we make to that is this breeds the beneficial insects so we can lower our reliance on chemicals,” he said. “We also do a lot of work with the nutrition of the potato so the higher we keep the nutrition to the optimum the better the potato is.
“It’s a bit like being healthy yourself means you don’t get colds or the flu and it is the same for plants. The healthier they are means they are less likely to be attacked by insects or fungal disease.”
Bringing the gourmet to plates
The Andean Sunrise stems from a 6,000-year-old Peruvian variety and Kadwell has hopes of growing other varieties for Australian consumption. He was emboldened to begin production of the Andean Sunrise as he became tired of seeing so many great varieties of potatoes never making it to market.
“We only started farming the gourmet potatoes two years ago, as I was getting sick of seeing really good varieties of potatoes never reaching the consumer.”Garry Kadwell, certified seed producer and grower of gourmet Andean Sunrise potatoes
“Andean Sunrise is the main one we specialise in but from here on in we are going to continue to bring new varieties in and have different varieties for different uses. We are planning to bring some really good coloured potatoes in next,” he said.
Getting in the ears of restaurateurs
Garry has been working with Wentworth and Lynette Hill to have the Andean Sunrise potatoes marketed in the right places.
“Things happen in life – and in this case it was a chance meeting with chef Lennox Hastie, who took one bite of one of our potatoes and said: ‘What do you think about nominating them for the delicious. awards?’ Then we won the state award and the gold medal at the nationals and now we’ve won Producer of the Year. I’m pretty sure I am going to be getting a lot of phone calls in the next few weeks.”
To check out the other winners of delicious. magazine Harvey Norman winners, please click here.
And you enjoyed reading this story, you might like our feature on the winners of the NSW Farmers’ Tertiary Scholarship Program