Going Gangbusters, Glazes, Ice Cream and S’mores

Many of our Seedlabbers have had major developments recently, so we thought we’d give you an update!

Tasty, Thai and Tasmanian

Rob and Ann Atkinson of Thai Larder (Bootcamp and Cultivate 2) launched in-store in 31 Woolworths throughout Tasmania this week, with their three tasty Tasmanian-made Thai Curry sauces: vegan and delicious. You can find them in the chilled convenience cabinets in Woolworths, Hill Street Grocer and other great stores.

Ann and Rob undertook substantial development of their idea throughout their time in Seedlab: deciding which product range to focus on, developing those with a greater percentage of Tasmanian ingredients, and deciding (after significant competitor analysis), to focus on using only vegan ingredients, but still with authentic Thai taste. Then they proved the shelf-life of their products was long enough to warrant the effort of getting them in-store more widely, and got packaging designed that was retail ready: complete with barcodes, Country of Origin statements, correct Nutrition Information Panels, and more.

Initial sales in Hill Street Grocer were promising, especially when combined with extensive in-store sampling which Rob particularly has committed to, and excelled at. Feedback from Woolworths was that a smaller pack size (Serves 2) was likely to have greater impact, and with the confidence of good repeat sales, and interest from Woolworths under their belts, the Atkinsons had new packaging designed and printed on a larger scale.

Now making their sauces from the commercial kitchen at Tasmanian Kitchen Pantry, Campania, the Atkinsons are planning a series of in-store Woolworth’s tastings Tassie wide: so watch out for them, and go and have a taste and a chat with Ann and Rob, who are now both full-time in their business. 

Rob and Ann said: “This contract makes an immediate massive difference to our small family business and we are hugely grateful to Woolworths for believing in us and to Seedlab in helping to enable this expansion of our dream. Now we have to focus on sustainably scaling up and working closely with Woolworths & our Tasmanian partners to make this a success.”

The Seedlab team have tasted these sauces repeatedly, and especially love the way they turn a mix of veg and tofu into a delicious vegetarian meal in moments, or you can simply toss together a mix of meat and veg leftovers, and create something magical in moments.

In fact: right now in Woolworths, you’ll notice lots of new products popping up, including a range of 4 chillis sauces and 3 salt and spice mixes from chef Russell and teacher Anita Crook, from Tasmanian Kitchen Pantry. These can be found near the various meat and plant-based protein options in-store. Russ and Anita came into Bootcamp and Cultivate over 2 years ago, and instead of focusing on products, it was all about the experience of visitors to their amazing Campania vegetable and fruit garden, the source of ingredients in the Crook’s tasty sauces.  

Food Processing Perfection

Talking about food factories and efficient processing of food to avoid waste is the focus of the Seedlab Tasmania Webinar Food Processing Perfection in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology, and the University of Tasmania, on Thursday the 26th May 1pm-4.15pm (live, online).

We’ll be hearing from Tassal about innovative new products and how they reduce waste and improve the packaging footprint. From Redshoots New Zealand about utilising fruit juices and innovating to utilise the whole of crop. From the National Food Institute about rapid testing methods to enable food to get into the supply chain faster and reduce waste. And from the Fight Food Waste CRC about upcycling. I’ll also be sharing learnings from my Churchill Fellowship travel visiting nimble food factories throughout Europe. All welcome to register via the seedlabtasmania.com.au website. There is a free code for Seedlab alumni, please get in touch for this. Thanks to the Regional Investment Corporation for their support for us to undertake this Webinar.

Raving about Raku

Several of the Seedlab team recently participated in a Raku ceramic experience at Campo de Flori in the Huon Valley. Lisa Britzman’s career has spanned many things from science to art, and she has especially focused on ceramics, learning from Raku Masters in the US.

In her new offer, as part of Tasmania’s The Off Season, Lisa brings this lifelong and hard earned experience to bear, crafting for visitors a truly magical experience with earth, fire, smoke, and water. Driving up the long and winding road to Campo de Flori involves traversing steep and tight bends, winding between huge established gum trees, and feels like you’re surely getting close enough to touch the clouds. On arrival, we were greeted by Lisa and given a brief overview of all that her boutique agritourism venture has to offer, including olive groves, lavender fields and bees.

Lisa gave us an explanation of Raku. Then we each selected a ceramic pot made by Lisa, and under her tutorage, glazed them with special Raku glazes Lisa has tried and tested over the years. The pots were then fired in a special kiln at 1,000 degrees Celsius, outside.

While the kiln heated up and the glaze on the pots started bubbling, we were treated to homemade wood fired pizzas, and then s’mores (toasted marshmallows and chocolate squished between two biscuits) made by David, Lisa’s compatriot in all things Campo de Flori. Delish!

Once the glazes had bubbled, all the action started: Lisa donned all her safety gear to remove the pots one by one and rapidly place them in large metal cans, half-filled with shredded paper. The lids were rapidly clamped on and the extremely hot pots then smouldered and smoked in the combustible materials. After a period of time (and here is where the magic happens), Lisa removed the lids, swished the smoke away and directed a stream of high pressure water onto the pots to rapidly cool them. Apparently, it’s the combination of heat, cold, oxidation and anaerobic conditions which cause the glazes to form unique, variable and startlingly beautiful combinations of crackles, colours, shine and matte finishes. Lisa says: “It brings me so much happiness to see the look of joy, surprise and satisfaction when they pull their pottery jewels from the flames and smoke.”

The final process involves washing off some of the carbon that has formed in the buckets, and drying the pots by the wood fired pizza oven, before taking them home to show off to family and friends forever more. This special Raku day is an absolutely engrossing experience, wonderful to take some friends or family and enjoy time in a beautiful environment, overlooking the gorgeous Huon Valley. Enjoy the delicious food, and learn from a true guru of art; plus the smoke, fire, water and all is VERY dramatic and fun! It’s a day I will treasure in my memories, every time I look at my Raku Pot, for a long time.

Amanda Hinds said of the day: “The Raku experience at Campo de Fiori is an extraordinary combination of precision and unpredictability, of fire and water, of control and chaos! I loved the whole experience, from selecting a pot that Lisa had thrown to choosing a glaze, to immersing the pot into the flames and then rapidly cooling to expose the final finish. I loved that no two pots are the same. Each is unique and cannot be replicated”. Book now for a limited number of seats at www.campodeflori.com.au

Simple Workshops for Curious Women

This week we had two live online Workshops in Seedlab Sisters Cradle Coast, a program to support women in North-West Tasmania to become more entrepreneurial; people from other regions also joined us. This week we covered The People Stuff – bringing your people along on your journey and building your squad. We also heard from Alchymia Distillery’s Sarah Packwood-Hollings about her journey – which continues to blossom.

In mid-June (Friday June 17, 10am-1pm), we’ll be meeting face to face at Guide Falls Farm to workshop how to sum up complex unique ideas in just a few words. Seedlab Sisters Saying it Simply is going to be a fabulous opportunity to meet all the Seedlab Sisters team, and many of our cohort. A chance to enjoy delicious fresh food from the regenerative agriculture farm that is Guide Falls Farm.

Most importantly, it will be chance to learn tools that you can take back to ANY business, enabling you to sum up your unique proposition in terms of the benefits it has for your customers and consumers. We hope to welcome many Seedlab Sisters and Alumni to these workshops: all the info to register can be found on the seedlabtasmania.com.au website.

Saving Energy with Ice Cream

Finally: Congratulations to Martin and Emma Hamilton from The Devil’s Own Ice Creamery who are one of 4 recipients in the Launceston area, and one of 27 recipients state-wide of an Energy Efficiency Communities (EEC) grant for food and beverage manufacturers from the Federal Government. This week Bridget Archer MP, Liberal Member for Bass, and Angus Taylor MP visited the café to announce the award and taste the treats.

Martin says: “This grant will help us upgrade the cool room at the café, which suffered catastrophic failure in December due to being underpowered and being under constant load. We will also be upgrading our ice cream churner to one that is more energy efficient, providing a foreseen energy efficiency of up to 40% which will be a life-changing benefit for our business, especially given the challenges that COVID have thrown at us”.

It’s winter, and hopefully this means there will be delicious Winter Warmer treats and desserts available at The Devil’s Own Ice Creamery, Lawrence St Launceston, for your delectation.  Go on – you deserve it!