Beach | Family | Food and Wine | Romance 09 August 2016

6 Ways To Explore the Sunshine Coast’s Food Bowl

The Sunshine Coast is more than its golden beaches and verdant hinterland. Between the countryside and the coast this gorgeous South East Queensland region with its year-round idyllic climate is fast making a name for itself as one of Australia’s great food bowls.

"My aim is to ensure farmers are getting a fair go and our environment is being looked after so we can produce the very best home-grown produce using sustainable farming methods wherever possible," Shane Stanley said.

The Australian food ambassador and Sunshine Coast local is passionate about produce and connecting locals with where their food comes from. He started the award-winning Noosa Farmers Markets to forge connections between local farmers and consumers, and make available the wealth of local produce grown right here on the Sunshine Coast.

"With the quality and range on offer there should be no reason not to choose fresh, local, healthy and nutritious foods,” he said.

Read on to discover our pick (pardon the pun) of the Sunshine Coast’s favourite farmers and food producers, where you can pick-your-own produce or relax and enjoy the bounty of local flavours.

Go strawberry picking

Sunshine Coast locals love to pick the sweetest, juiciest, most melt-in-your-mouth strawberries straight from the fields. Between June and October each year, a handful of local farms open the gates to their strawberry patch for PYO (pick your own) events. Kids and adults can find joy grabbing a punnet direct from the farm or wandering through the patch to collect the sweet red gems themselves. Try Cooloola Berries, Oasis Berries and LuvaBerry for your next strawberry picking adventure.

A  girl carrying a basket full of strawberries while picking more strawberries at the field

Sunshine Coast locals having picnic with strawberries and fruit drinks on the table at the farm of Cooloola Berries

Say cheese in Maleny

Any holiday on the Sunshine Coast should include a day road tripping the gorgeous, lush hinterland. Venture out to the hills and discover how the region’s rich pastures and warm climate have made this area big for dairy. Maleny Dairies is a local favourite, known for producing Australia's best full cream milk. You can drop by the farm to say g’day to the cows and taste milk, yoghurt and ice-cream. Then head up to Maleny Cheese to watch the cheesemongers in action before tasting the goods – award-winning hard and soft cheeses. If you’ve still got steam, drop by Maleny Food Co to explore the fromagerie with more than 200 cheeses from around the world.

Customers inside Maleny Food Company cheese store picking locally produced cheeses and full cream milks

Eat seafood in Mooloolaba

Venture down to The Spit at Mooloolaba in search of a fresh seafood feast. This main fishing port is home to a number of fish and chipperies where you can pick up fresh fish, prawns and seafood from a fishmonger, or have them fry up a picnic feast for you to enjoy in the park or on the beach. Of course, while in Mooloolaba you have to order a serve of fresh or freshly cooked Mooloolaba prawns. 

A basket full of fresh seafood from The Spit at Mooloolaba

Explore a camel farm

Have you ever tried camel milk? Give it a go at the world’s only organic camel dairy. QCamel is open for farm gate experiences, letting you meet the friendly camels (who love a cuddle) while enjoying spectacular views over the famous Glasshouse Mountains. Drop by the cafe for morning tea and to taste camel milk for yourself – it’s a good source of Calcium, Vitamin C and Lactoferrin – and explore the range of skincare made with camel milk.

Crawl Australia’s craft beer capital

The Sunshine Coast claims to have the most craft breweries per capita of any state or territory in Australia, so if you’re a fan of artisanal brews you’ll feel right at home here. Hop between a handful of the coast’s 19 breweries sampling sours and fruity IPAs, stouts and session ales. Some, such as Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny, make the most of local produce including strawberries, others offer behind-the-scenes brewery tours or special tastings. Take a look at this craft beer map and organise your own trail.

Bouhaha Brewery Restaurant with customers around the area ordering locally produced craft breweries

Visit a farmers market

Catch up on the buzz with a local apiarist, speak to the mushroom man, rub shoulders with an orchardist and chat to cheesemongers at a local farmers market. Food producers from across the Sunshine Coast congregate at local markets – like the Noosa Farmers Market – to meet consumers and cut out the middle man. Support local farmers and the Sunshine Coast food community by passing through one of the weekend markets.

Customers chatting with food producers at the Noosa Farmers Market