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Home-grown gourmets bloom at Halcyon

September 27, 2018

Celebrity chef Matt Golinski took centre stage at Halcyon Glades in August to show home owners how to transform home-grown fresh produce into simply delicious meals.

Matt was joined by gardener Gary Hands, of Kookaburra Organics, in presenting Halcyon’s first ever Paddock to Plate event during Queensland Seniors Week.

It attracted more than 150 home owners and visitors who gathered in The Long House to see and hear how they could become more self-sufficient and creative with food.

Proving that you don’t need a lot of space or money to be a home-grown gourmet, Gary discussed growing crops in pots while Matt gave a cooking demonstration using fresh produce sourced from Halcyon Glades’ own veggie patch.

Matt said Halcyon had created a lifestyle opportunity by offering its residents the space and opportunity to grow their own foods in the communal garden and cook together in the community’s state-of-the-art kitchen.

“The benefit of doing that, from my point of view, is that you end up with a better end product – better, tastier dishes – and knowing exactly where your food comes from,” he said.

“Growing your own ingredients is such a satisfying experience and gives you a different kind of respect for the way you consume them.

“It can be as simple as growing your own herbs and salad greens, you’ll be reducing waste, saving money and creating fresher, healthier food at home.

“You learn to have a better understanding of the seasons, which means you’re eating the foods your body needs at the right time of year.”

Gary said anyone could create their own food garden, regardless of their budget or the size of their garden.

“We demonstrate that even if you only have a small space, or happen to be renting, you can still grow your own foods,” he said.

“It’s about growing things productively in pots, especially in Queensland because that is a little different to popping things in a pot down south.

“Everything we do is low cost. You can make your own fertiliser and pest control without spending money at the hardware store or nursery.”

Halcyon Glades home owner Penne Bowles said the event had motivated her to start growing vegetables in pots on her back patio.

“The presentations were very, very down to earth and it wasn’t an overload of information,” she said.

“I like how Matt went down to our community garden and used produce from there in his demonstration.

“It’s inspired me to get a patio garden going – it’s so simple.

“I would never have imagined that I could grow vegetables out on my patio.

“But it’s possible, every single person could do it.”

Penne, part of Glades’ kitchen crew, said she found Gary’s tips on buying plants and how to set up pots very helpful while Matt spoke about the tasty benefits of using home-grown produce.

“It inspired us to have a go at growing because what we buy in the shops is nothing like it – the flavours are nothing like the home-grown vegetables,” she said.

Fellow home owner Judy Moller took away plenty of handy hints, and like Penne, has been inspired to produce her own vegetables.

“It was very, very informative,” she said

“I think it’s great to be able to grow your own vegetables, pick them and put them straight on your plate.

“It’s healthier and you get a great sense of satisfaction from doing it.”

An enthusiastic cook, Judy said she enjoyed watching Matt prepare a meal from scratch.

“I really loved the way he incorporated the herbs and stalks into his cooking,” she said.

“And the fact that he made his own chicken stock, it was very natural – I love all that natural cooking.”