If you are ever out Broke-Fordwich way, keep an eye out for a woman getting her hands dirty in Margan’s one-acre kitchen garden with a huge smile on her face.
Her name is Pat Hansson, she is a horticulturalist and she knows just about everything there is to know about gardening. She is also a proud Wanaruah woman with a strong spiritual connection to the Broke Valley.
“Pat spent a happy childhood playing on the riverbanks and pastures of this very property. She loves being able to connect with the land of her childhood and her ancestry,” restaurateur Lisa Margan told Food & Wine.
“She has worked on the land her entire life and is always happy to have a chat to anyone who wanders up the garden path to see her.”
Visitors to Margan have the opportunity to do just that this month during the Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival. The event kicked off 10 years ago as The Harvest Festival, was re-branded and then expanded across two months to include May and June.
“It is all about shining a light on the people of the region, what they are producing and how they are offering it to visitors in the Hunter Valley,” Mrs Margan said.
“The festival encourages the region to think outside the box and create unique wine and food experiences for visitors to enjoy.”
Margan’s annual Meet The Farmer Dinner on June 17 is one of the highlights of the festival, where diners get to meet Hunter Valley producers and ask questions. This year’s guest farmers are Birds Dairy (the last of 35 milking dairies from Broke); Coquon Farm (free-range Berkshire pigs); Little Hill Farm (chickens); Woodlands Olives (olives and oil) and agri-dining enthusiasts Margan.
And yes, the lovely Pat will be there.
“We have a fantastic tasting menu that incorporates produce from these farmers – everything will be either grown on site or sourced from the farm-gate producers and matched with Margan wines,” Mrs Margan said.
“There is a strong trend for consumers to want to make connections with what they eat and drink and where and how that is grown.”
For the full program of events at this year’s Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival go to winecountry.com.au. Tickets to the Meet The Farmer Dinner on June 17 cost $150 per person and can be bought online at margan.com.au.