Bundy produce to feature on TV

THERE will be plenty of sweet talk on Off The Eaten Track on Saturday. Sweet potatoes that is - along with tomatoes, capsicum, broccolini, strawberries, passionfruit and macadamias grown in the Wide Bay-Burnett region will star in the popular television series.

The Channel 7 series is produced in association with the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).

This home-grown food show features celebrity chef, Alastair McLeod once again travelling the length and breadth of the state - meeting passionate producers and celebrating the quality and diversity of Queensland's food regions.

Along the way, he delights audiences with his fast, fresh and simple recipes for the busy cook.

In the Wide-Bay Burnett episode, Alastair visits Prichard Farms, one of the largest family-owned grower businesses in Bundaberg comprising seven farms over 200ha. The business packs about 5,000 boxes of sweet potato each week, supplying all the major markets in Australia.

Farm manager Troy Prichard said the television series was excellent exposure for the industry.

"It's a little known fact that nearly 90 of Australia's sweet potatoes are grown in the Bundaberg region, or that they are available year-round with the peak supplies in winter," Mr Prichard said.

"Sweet potatoes are a delicious, nutritious and versatile vegetable and by watching the program people can learn the best ways to cook them - many more options than boiling!"

DEEDI research horticulturist Russell McCrystal, who also stars in the episode, said about three million packages, or 55,000 tonnes, of sweet potatoes were transported out of the Bundaberg region each year.

"Despite floods this year and extreme wet conditions, supplies were largely unaffected and the quality is good."

DEEDI scientists are developing new sweet potato varieties to sell all year round and experimenting with the look of the vegetable to appeal to a wider market.

Mr McCrystal said he hoped the research would encourage increased consumption.

"The traditional Beauregard sweet potato with orange skin and flesh is the most common variety," he said.

"Consumers want more options. We're now testing 40 new varieties that will also vary in taste.

"They are visually exciting with a mix of purple, red, orange and white skin and flesh and will give a new look to the family dinner menu."

Mr McCrystal said DEEDI was also researching ways to develop a more consistently shaped and blemish-free vegetable that would produce less waste in the kitchen.

The four-part series 'Off the Eaten Track' is produced by TPD media, the team from Seven's Great South East programs. The Wide Bay-Burnett episode will feature these businesses:

Macadamias Australia

Perfection Fresh

Prichard Farms

Suncoast Gold Macadamias


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