29 February 2024
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One for all: A three-day culinary escape to regional Tasmania

Harpers BAZAAR Australia
25 August 2022

GEORGE BURGESS and I are getting emotional in the middle of his distillery in Devonport. I’ve reached the end of a three-day trip to North West Tasmania, an area dubbed the Tasting Trail for its unparalleled food and produce. The gin maker-slash-owner (and as my guide remarked afterwards, ‘alchemist’), has just told the story of how Southern Wild Distillery’s internationally recognised strawberry gin — it picked up the gong for best Australian gin at the World Liqueur Awards in London a few years ago — is the product of a heartfelt desire to help out a local farmer who couldn’t sell his product.

“I believe that as a community we need to support each other as much as possible,” he explains. “So when I hear about a local producer who’s doing it tough or has been impacted by a crisis, I like to reach out to them to see if there’s something we can be doing together, to help them in some way.” The strawberries used for this award-winning gin were destined for waste before Burgess put considerable resources and time and money into incorporating them; then, following the gin-making process, used the excess to create another award-winning product, Strawberry Gin paste.

“In summary, we took a waste product and turned it into two value-added, award-winning products with zero waste at the end!”

It isn’t just altruism that drives Burgess’ desire to collaborate with local producers — evident from even just a brief conversation, he believes wholeheartedly in the people and produce from the North Western Tasmania he has adopted as home. As I had discovered in the days prior: “…I live in a region of the most fertile soil in the country with the most pure water on the planet, surrounded by growers who are passionate about what they do and make some of the finest produce on the planet.”

This excerpt has been republished from Mariela Summerhays' article for Harper's BAZAAR Australia.

CLICK HERE to read the original article in full.

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