WHAT started as a one-off fundraiser in a farming property's shed six years ago to help secure coffers for the Grafton Regional Gallery, has grown into a festival of fine food over two weekends showcasing the delights of the Clarence Valley and the people responsible for producing and gently transforming it into fine cuisine.

In almost trend-bucking fashion the Causley Fresh Gate to Plate has grown almost as vigorously as the produce it showcases since making its debut back in 2008.

To herald the arrival of the Gallery Foundation's 2013 event, a special launch was held at the gallery yesterday to entice and prime foodies and distinguished guests with a teaser menu.

Guests were treated to a range of delicacies including Wooli oysters with caviar and champagne jelly, and Ausbuff Stuff buffalo fillet.

Principal sponsor Karl Causley pointed out that the event is beyond any commercial endeavour for him.

"It's a community event for all local businesses. It brings Grafton, Maclean and Yamba together; up and down river and its farming roots."

The success of the event was cemented when it received support from Clarence Valley Council this year to the tune of $10,000. Mayor Richie Williamson said it was an investment in the Gate to Plate's future, which is quickly growing into a signature event, a food festival with more events growing around it.

"Ideas like the community garden projects and edible garden are just some of those examples. I know I have my eye on the tomatoes and strawberries growing out the front of the Council building," Cr Williamson said.

Full program in today's DEX.



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