Food, farms, flowers and fun. That is the motto of Cultivate Tours run by HMAA member Brian Sams and well-known Toowoomba local, Wendy Allen from Activate Events. Queensland media members recently enjoyed a magical day with Brian and Wendy, touring the Darling Downs region north of Toowoomba. Seventeen members and their partners, plus two guests made up the group. The mystery nature of the tour (no destinations are disclosed in advance) added to the excitement and social interaction on the day.
Included on the itinerary were:
- a unique native garden where intriguing plant species, clever design, creative upcycling and wildlife sculptures had phones snapping plenty of images.
- a guided tour of Brian Sams’ own home garden. This was also the venue for a delicious home-made morning tea. It turns out Brian is quite the professional cook when it comes to brownies and muffins.
- a tour and tasting of Manifest Kombucha led by the engaging Mark Herlaar, better known for his part in the 2017 series of Survivor. ( https://www.manifestkombucha.com.au).
- a talk and tour of an avocado farm and packing facility to learn firsthand the vagaries of not only avocado growing, but market fluctuations and staff shortages.
- visit to Emaho garden and tree farm, the property of horticultural identities James and Barbara McGeoch. https://emahotrees.com.au/pages/about-emahotrees
- meeting a small-scale producer experimenting with cut flowers, garlic and turmeric growing in an attempt to find a profitable niche.
Lunch was in a delightful café in Crow’s Nest – a tiny country town that has seen an incredible increase in population, business activity and tourism since the pandemic.
Such was the success of the day, Queensland members are planning to hold a second Cultivate Tour in Autumn 2023.
About Cultivate Tours
Cultivate Tours are run by Wattletree Horticulture owner and HMAA member Brian Sams (https://www.wattletreehorticulture.com.au) and Activate Events managing director, Wendy Allen (https://activateevents.net.au).
The pair began a business partnership in 2015 and run tours that focus on connecting guests with local food, producers, farms and country gardens in and around Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and further afield.
Brian finds interesting gardens to visit and also acts as driver. Wendy is passionate about supporting community organizations, the rural sector and small business and helping people gain an understanding of the origins of their food and the importance of farmers. It is a perfect match of complimentary skills, personalities and interests. Destinations on the day always remain a mystery until just before arrival. All tours depart from Toowoomba and Highfields in Queensland and include a homemade morning tea and lunch in an interesting location.