Thursday, 28 February 2008
The organic joy of Koonwarra
Driving into the small Gippsland village of Koonwarra - a short jaunt from Inverloch or Leongatha - you could be forgiven for thinking you've entered some sort of children's fairytale - it's that pretty. Koonwarra describes itself as a contemporary village and is built around the premise of demonstrating sustainable living. But that doesn't mean it's ended up as some sort of twee theme park for organic life.
Instead there is a realness here, with a small but beautiful group of shops showcasing organic and locally produced food and wine, clothing, furniture and art. There's also a day spa, accommodation and - very exciting - an organic cooking school.
The Koonwarra foodstore serves great meals on long rustic benches, where you sit surrounded by a tempting display of produce from the verdant surrounding fields. There's pickles, jams, organic cordials, cheeses and wines. I'd known about the foodstore for time, but I had no idea there was so much more here.
Next door is the fabulous store Revamp, (closely watched over by the stunning and very friendly Billy the dog pictured below). Revamp sells recycled and found furniture and collectibles, as well as organic clothing.
Across the road is a day spa and the delightful sounding Peaceful Gardens Organic School and Farmhouse Kitchen. There you will find 1930s inspired meals plus an intriguing cooking school which promises to reconnect people to the simplicity and goodness of food. Who could resist?
There's also a great nursery called The Outside Bit and an organic fruit and veg - The Organic Fix.
A farmer's market runs every month and the village has also set up a Sustainable Communities Centre, which offers environment education and works to improve sustainability in this heavily farmed region.
For more information and inspiration, visit: www.koonwarra.vic.au
Peaceful Gardens Organic Cooking School: www.peacefulgardens.com.au
Koonwarra Day Spa: www.koonwarraspa.com.au
The Escential Shop: www.escentials.com.au