The annual awards, now in their 17th year, unearth and champion Australia’s best primary and artisan food producers. The ‘Outstanding Innovation’ trophy is given to an individual, business, group or community in the food or agriculture industry demonstrating innovation in the production of food using sustainable methods.
Leeuwin Coast produces Australia’s first certified carbon neutral aquaculture products, with its Akoya and Albany Rock Oysters grown in the pristine waters of Western Australia. Leeuwin Coast’s products are certified by Climate Active, an Australian government initiative that is one of the most rigorous certifications in the world.
Harvest Road CEO, Paul Slaughter, said winning the ‘Outstanding Innovation’ award was well deserved recognition for the commitment of the Leeuwin Coast team in ensuring seafood is responsibly farmed using sustainable modern techniques and equipment.
“Leeuwin Coast is producing unique world-class seafood products out of our farms and facilities in the pristine environment of Albany, Western Australia and continually exploring ways to redefine best practice to ensure ongoing sustainability,” Mr Slaughter said.
Harvest Road’s general manager of aquaculture, Justin Welsh, said the award was recognition of the rapidly expanding popularity of Akoya, which while traditionally famous for producing spectacular saltwater pearls, has been transformed using bespoke aquaculture techniques into a sought-after delicacy in its own right.
“Chefs and hospitality operators across Australia have welcomed and embraced the Akoya, discovering new and inventive ways of cooking with it and educating consumers on its unique flavour profile, stories of origin and sustainability,” Dr Welsh said.
“Akoya is now featured on more than 100 restaurant menus across New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia and next month will launch in Queensland and South Australia.”
delicious. editorial director Kerrie McCallum said the awards were at the forefront of championing Australia’s finest producers, which are the unsung heroes behind the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs.
“This year, we wanted to discover the producers leading the field in their production ethos, cultivation and wild-catch practices, and the top-quality produce it results in,” she said.
“We’ve acknowledged producers with a focus on environmental sustainability, provenance, species diversity, preservation and collaboration with the local community.”
A total of 18 trophies were awarded by the national judging panel, which includes some of Australia’s most renowned chefs, including Josh Niland, Lennox Hastie, Matt Stone, Jo Barrett, Matt Moran, Andrew McConnell, Peter Gilmore and Alla Wolf-Tasker, with winners across four major categories – Dairy, Earth, Paddock and Sea.
The full list of winners is available at delicious.com.au/produceawards