New label to promote authentic Margaret River produce
A new brand aimed at promoting authentic, Margaret River region-sourced and produced goods has been launched by the Margaret River Producers Association, with early adopters saying they are thrilled to bear the prestigious label.
The Margaret River Produce stamp may only be used by parties authorised by the Association, after passing a series of checks to ensure all, or as much as possible, of the origins are derived from the immediate region.
Margaret River Producers Association's Katrina Lombardo said the program allowed producers to obtain approval across a huge range of categories, with levels of authenticity based on where each ingredient or element was grown or made.
"If you breed and raise your animals right here in Margaret River, that's a gold standard," she explained.
The label is reserved for products and goods grown, sourced and manufactured in the Margaret River Region.
"Then you may have a product that is almost completely grown and prepared here in the region, but you have to source one or two elements from elsewhere in WA, we of course consider those applications and have approvals in place."
One such business is Krissini, a family-owned business producing Italian-style breadsticks from the heart of Margaret River.
"Breadsticks are a way of life in Italy where I am from, and my husband Kris [Hausler] is a baker of 25 years," explained co-owner Elisa Derossi.
"I noticed that all the breadsticks available here, everything was imported, so we said 'why don't we start', even though he had never baked breadsticks before. Unfortunately flour isn't produced in Margaret River, but we are still using WA flour so it's as local as it can be."
Eligibility criteria include origins of ingredients, and processing and packaging locations, with levels of flexibility offered to include as many producers as possible.
Ms Derossi saw the need for an authentic Margaret River brand, and joined the Association to help further many years of work to establish it.
"Unless you are passionate, nothing gets done. And this board and the Association members are all passionate, dedicated people who have worked really hard to make this happen," she said.
"The brand helps small producers like us, husband and wife teams and individuals - it means this product is truly from the region and not just a name slapped on a product because it's attractive to buyers."
Ms Lombardo said the Association had spent countless hours ensuring as many of the region's products were able to be included, and urged people to download the information pack and consider applying.
"We even have a non-food section, where we have producers of things like beautiful goats milk soap with locally sourced olive oil, so the sky's the limit on what can be approved, provided it ticks those boxes," she said.
The logo, which is provided to approved businesses as part of a design suite for labels, online and print marketing, incorporates the Margaret rivermouth, the Capes and a nod to tradition with a snake-like curve. Ms Lombardo highlighted the efforts of the Producers Association over many years to achieve the final result, and said future plans would include working with external stakeholders to further promote the region's producers.
"When people buy Margaret River region products, they are really buying the experience and the story that these small producers are telling," said Ms Derossi.
More information can be found at margaretriverproduce.org.au/brand