lunch at Yamba Lighthouse on the Down River Food Trail
lunch at Yamba Lighthouse on the Down River Food Trail

Food Trail left little desired

SITTING under the shade of the Yamba Lighthouse, munching on salty, sweet Yamba prawns with some Clarence Valley-grown salad and sipping on a glass of cool sparkling wine: there aren't many better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

I hosted Saturday's Gate to Plate Lower River Food Trail and it was an honour to take a bus full of enthusiastic foodies to some of the region's best producers.

The Lighthouse was the finale to an epic trip, which kicked off at Maclean's Espresso Botero.

"I've not done too bad for a cane farmer," co-owner Danny Young beamed as he showed the enthusiastic visitors around his newly restored warehouse, which will soon become the new espresso bar.

Mr Young, who said his passion for coffee started from when he was in his mother's womb, formerly owned Coffee Art Cafe after deciding a career in music wasn't going to bring home the bacon.

He went through everything from the intricate roasting process, how to make the perfect coffee to revealing his ambitious plans for tapping into the Brisbane market.

A caffeine hit and the food-trailers were on their way to Yamba where the Clarence River Fishermen's Cooperative representatives met us at the river mouth to show not only what makes the Yamba prawn so special, but give samples of a range of fish delicacies on offer locally.

Garry Anderson, who is in charge of business development for the cooperative and a fourth-generation fisherman, showed off the best prawn-peeling technique as well as sharing some of the amazing products launched by the group.

There certainly wasn't much left for the pelicans, but it was a quick dash then around the Causley Fresh Deli.

The shop is a wall-to-wall treasure chest of treats and I particularly enjoyed the mulberries, which had been freshly picked that morning.

We could have stayed there all day but it was time to depart for the Lighthouse where lunch was waiting.

Having moved to the Valley recently from the Granite Belt, a significant food bowl in Queensland, I was overwhelmed by not only the produce on offer in this region but the entrepreneurial ingenuity of some of our locals creating great products, delivering great service and telling great stories.

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