We love supporting local events and businesses and when we heard about the McIvor Farm Autumn Festival that was being held in Tooborac, Victoria we were excited to attend!
The organisers were blessed by Mother Nature as it was a gorgeous day! The sun shining and with temperatures in the mid-20’s, it was the perfect weather to enjoy what this wonderful community had on offer. Tooborac is a small town in the Mitchell Shire, the kind of town where everyone knows everyone and country hospitality is alive and well.
We were welcomed at the front gate by event staff and were given a recycled material armband, program and booked onto the McIvor Farm Tour.
Story time with local author Tai Snaith, was just about to start, so we hurried to the blankets and hay bales underneath a huge pine tree to listen to Tai’s latest stories. Tai was entertaining and interactive and her illustrations are amazing! Tai has published two popular children’s books; The Family Hour in Australia (2012) and Sticks and Stones, animal homes (2014), both with Thames and Hudson.
Kids were definitely on the minds of the organisers as there was plenty to keep them entertained! Aside from the onsite playground and CFA trucks there was play-doh, pencils and paper, chalk for drawing on the concrete verandah and later in the day the older kids were participating in old-school games such as sack and egg and spoon races on the oval.
A large crowd gathered around fourteen year old Josh, from Josh’s Rainbow Eggs, to hear about how he started his own egg production business at only 9 years old! Alegría and Isaac kept coming back to the three hens that were on display and were lucky enough to be able to have a cuddle with them!
At the Fat Spaniel Nursery stand, it was time to get grubby! Alegría loved planting her nasturtium seed with Jo Anne, drawing on the label and watering it whilst Isaac just loved playing in the soil! His rocket seeds have already sprouted and we are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of his labour! This activity cost $2 per person to cover the cost of materials.
The atmosphere surrounding the Heathcote & District Community Bank Stage was fantastic as local musicians Pat Ward, Sarah Carniegie, Talisa Jobe, Cass, Jarrod and Sarah played blues/folk/country music whilst everyone tucked into the best food, produce, beer and wine, lunch and grazing plates all grown, brewed, roasted or baked within a stones throw of Tooborac.
The food was so fresh and tasty – the average price was about $10, so factor that into your budget. I had the Food Exchange’s “Tooby Taco” and it was delicious! There wasn’t a huge selection for children so make sure you bring lunch and snacks for the kids. There was free drinking water provided which made filling up drink bottles easy!
In the hall and on the verandah, cooking demonstrations, workshops and lectures were popular with visitors keen to get some tips and hints from industry experts. The program was extensive with topics such as sourdough baking, craft beer 101, pork dumplings, sausage making, preparing wild rabbit, free range farming and preserving olives at home.
Once again the children weren’t forgotten, as the children were all given a chef’s hat and invited to participate in pasta making with Chef Sonia of Mason’s of Bendigo. They say “many hands make light work”, and there was definitely many hands in the pasta dough!! Unfortunately, we had to leave to go on our McIvor Farm tour before the pasta dough was put through the machine so we grabbed a recipe card to make it at a later date!
We boarded a minibus and took a short drive out to the McIvor Farm to see the pigs. The pigs were doing what pigs do (let’s not mention the “piggy-back” that Alegría pointed out!) and we learnt about regenerative agriculture & ethical food production.
By the end of the day, we were all exhausted but very happy! Next year, you should grab your friends and family, pack the picnic blanket and enjoy the best of what this region has to offer. Please check the McIvor Farm Autumn Festival website or Facebook page for 2016 festival details.
Days and Times: Sunday the 22nd of March 2015 – 10am to 4pm
Location: Tooborac Recreation Reserve, Northern Highway, Tooborac, Victoria
Family (2a & 2c) $36 online
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