THE River Cottage Australia property at Central Tilba is flourishing under the summer sun with more livestock, veggies and on-farm projects than ever before.
And while the first series was all about establishment, the next two series will be all about ramping up production and making the property a viable enterprise.
Host Paul West, his girlfriend Alicia Cordia and their border collie cross Digger have had the farm all to themselves since production wrapped up on the first series.
But last week all that changed with the commencement of production of Series 2 of the television show that airs on The LifeStyle Channel on Foxtel.
“It’s all hands on deck up at River Cottage – it’s great!” West said.
“It’s just been Alicia and myself tending to the farm and being by ourselves for the last six months.”
“Now we’re back in full production and with the crew here and filming underway, we can really get going on all the projects we’ve been thinking of.”
“Digger is getting spoiled with snacks and pats and everyone is really excited about the second series.”
A crew of around 15, most new to the project and area, will come and go over the next few months as eight episodes are filmed on the farm and around the Far South Coast.
In fact, coming to this part of Australia was no doubt a bit of a reward for new director Callum Webster who just arrived from the UK where he has been working with River Cottage founder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on the original British series as well as Hugh’s other latest project “Fish Fight” about sustainable commercial fishing.
Taking over as producer for Series 2 is Jodi Boylan, who has just produced celebrity chef Matt Moran’s new show “Paddock to Plate” that also airs on The LifeStyle Channel.
Paul, Alicia and Digger are settling in with the new crew and the host said he was very much looking forward to meeting and learning from more local colourful characters as filming continued.
There was such of depth of knowledge about living off the land and getting the most from the region and he hoped that came across in the show.
“We can’t get everyone on the show but it’s all about showcasing this beautiful area to the world,” West said.
A trained chef who also holds a certificate in permaculture, West still can’t get over the richness the soil known as “Tilba gold” that resembles top-quality potting mix.
The Narooma News can’t give away too much after touring the property this week but the livestock numbers have been boosted with pigs and poultry likely to feature again.
West said he was excited about seeing just how much the farm could produce.
“The first series was all about establishment whereas this series will be about refinement and expansion,” he said.
“We’re really looking forward to building it up to the stage where it can produce a bounty of produce.”
The veggie patch has more than doubled in size and there are other new projects on the go that will be revealed when Series 2 airs mid-year.
Paul will again get out and explore the land and coastline around the Narooma district and up and down the Far South Coast.
The first series of River Cottage Australia was so successful for The LifeStyle Channel getting top ratings that a third series has already been secured with filming on that set to begin in the second half of the year.
Foxtel publicist Lucy Squire, who this week visited the property, said Paul and Digger and the series' messages of seasonality, sustainability and self-sufficiency had really resonated with their viewers.
“The network was looking forward to seeing more great things from the land and the locals this year,” she said.
Promotion for the series will get underway in the coming months.