WELCOME to the inside story behind Series 2 of River Cottage Australia!
The Narooma News just like during the first series will again be bringing you running coverage of each episode.
We will highlight the local characters and scenery of the Far South Coast of NSW featured in the hit show that airs on The Lifestyle Channel on Foxtel.
Host Paul West starts Episode 7 with his usual weather report noting that autumn is making way for winter and with some welcome rain after the dry summer, and while the fire danger is low, thinking about fire safety in the Australian bush is a year-round proposition.
Paul has some local hungry heroes to feed and so he fires up the cold smoker to make some pastrami cold cuts out the last bit of his Jersey steer that he had slaughtered at the beginning of Series 2.
RFS Group Captain Mick Anderson, formerly the captain of the Dalmeny RFS brigade, arrives to give the River Cottage Australia property a once over for fire safety advising Paul to move combustibles away from the farm house.
We get to see a photo that the Narooma News supplied to the producers of the Gulaga Mountain bushfire a few previous that burned right down the mountain to the edge of the property and the communities of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba.
Next Paul is off to the RFS specialist fire control facility up the highway at Mogo and the tree-lined journey reminds him of the potential fire dangers everywhere.
Mick and some fellow brigade members are at the RFS hot fire training facilities and together they set the mock house on fire and put it out.
It’s not revealed on the show, but Paul has actually joined the Tilba RFS brigade last year.
His pastrami sandwiches with his quick cucumber pickle or “quickle” goes down a treat with the hard training RFS volunteers.
This episode then goes from fire to water as Paul heads out for a surf with local renowned chef Josh Tyler of Tyler’s Pantry also in nearby Mogo.
The surf is a bit sloppy but the pair of bearded chefs doesn’t take long to gather up some urchins and bush beach greens and herbs for the seafood showdown.
There can only be Ninja foraged food winner and Paul’s crab ravioli made with foraged mud crab from the Tomakin River gets more orders than Josh’s sea urchin roe salad, so he doesn’t have to wash dishes for a week and Josh gets to help in some future cooking endeavour.
Back at the River Cottage property, Paul is then getting ready to head off to his first ever live cattle market in Bega and so makes himself a hearty breakfast of pancakes with tamarillo fruit from outside his front door – no need for a supermarket!
Helping Paul at the cattle market at the Bega sale yards is old farming friend Darcy Hoyer – a fellow Tilba farmer who has become a real regular on the show and a “real mentor”.
Paul hopes to get a cow and a calf as his original cow Bessie is having problems conceiving.
There been a bit of rain so everyone’s confidence is up and Paul finds himself being outbid, but he eventually gets to take home two Angus heifers for around $500 or $1.35 a kilo.
His two bargain heifers are all about making the farm more productive and profitable – Ray who delivers the cattle naturally has some local advice.
Then it’s time for prepare a special lunch for a special visitor close to his heart, so Paul sacrifices two of his Muscovy ducks.
But first Digger needs a little training and Paul’s faithful border collie cross purchased from the notice board at the Narooma shopping centre gets to help herd the goats.
The special guest is a woman that has always been there for Paul – his mum! She admires the scenery and gets a cuppa.
His mum Kath hails from Murrurundi eight hours up the coast in the upper Hunter Valley of NSW, where Paul was born.
She is impressed with his big fat pregnant pigs, but Paul admits he has had some difficulties with his tomato crop not getting the tonne he wanted.
He puts her to work preparing some seedlings and gets to cooking the duck breasts which they enjoy together.
Next they head off to a neighbour to get some bush lemons to make treats for the youngsters at the Little Yuin Preschool at the nearby Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Koori village.
Paul and mum work out a cheeky way to include veggies into the fruity ice blocks sweetened with stringy bark honey and sweet fruit.
They are on the road early to get into the project to rejuvenate the preschool’s old veggie garden.
Preschool director Lea Sutherland is there to greet them as his old friend Terry Gill, who works with the local Aboriginal youth.
The non-for-profit school servicing families surrounding Wallaga Lake, and recently has had some difficulty securing government funding. The Narooma News will keep you posted on the battle to keep the vital community service open.
The Little Yuin cavalry arrives in the form of 14 little students as well as parents and friends.
Another old friend musician and local Aboriginal tour guide Warren Foster is also there to help out with the native bush tucker garden.
Lots of little hands and watering cans and his mum’s green thumb means the work is done quickly and the kids love their ice block treats, not even realising there is carrot inside.
Next week, is the final episode of Series 2 and we can’t believe this series has passed so quickly.
We hear that Paul has some kingfish fishing action with the help of this author and editor as well as the Series 2 final party and feast where those who have helped out are invited over.
We look forward to bringing you the final Inside story of this series and no doubt filming will soon begin for Series 3.