Fifteen years ago, Englishman Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, embarked on an experiment in sustainability and self-sufficiency. He moved to a cottage on a small land-holding in Dorset and set about learning how to grow his own produce, raise livestock and become part of a community where sharing not only knowledge, but the fruits of farm labour, were an important part of life. The resulting TV series, Escape to River Cottage GÇô and more than a dozen series since GÇô has served as an inspiration to the aspirations of viewers who want to embrace a simpler, healthier life. Far more than cooking shows, the programs have encouraged interest and debate about the importance of local and seasonal produce, and the broader issues of sustainable agriculture and fishing on a global scale. Now, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is ready to take that experiment in downshifting and the message of sustainability down under, with River Cottage Australia. In this eight-part series, Hugh hands the River Cottage baton to an Australian counterpart GÇô former Tasmanian chef, Paul West GÇô who faces new challenges and uniquely Australian characters as he attempts to set up his own farm near the historic and picturesque village of Central Tilba on the NSW Far South Coast. The series begins with Hugh travelling to meet Paul at River Cottage Australia; a former dairy farm nestled between the pristine Sapphire Coast and the imposing Mount Gulaga GÇô a sacred place of enormous significance for the indigenous Yuin people. Together Paul and Hugh will hear first-hand their powerful message of sustainability, as well as discover how the mountain is central to their Dreamtime stories. On the farm itself, Hugh and Paul map out a sustainable plan for the future, discover fantastic bounty as they forage locally for food and share the products of their culinary skills with the locals GÇô who in return, will try to help them overcome the challenges of living off the land. But as the series unfolds, itGÇÖs up to Paul to make a go of it without Hugh there to guide him. He learns how to dish up whatever heGÇÖs grown, reared or caught. He stocks the farm with chickens, pigs and cows, establishes vegetable gardens, hunts for wild food, and learns the secrets of bush tucker. Can he build on the practices and passions developed at River Cottage in the UK? What new challenges will the Australian environment bring? And what will Hugh discover when he returns at the end of the series to check on his prot+â-¬g+â-¬GÇÖs progress? One thing is certain; the River Cottage ethos of respect and knowledge of the land and its produce wonGÇÖt just put good food on the table GÇô itGÇÖll make great viewing as well. EPISODES 1. Fifteen years after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall moved into the first River Cottage in the UK, heGÇÖs headed to Australia to spread the message of sustainability and to anoint an Aussie worthy of carrying on the River Cottage tradition. That job goes to former Tasmanian chef, Paul West, whoGÇÖll set up River Cottage Australia on the picturesque NSW Far South Coast GÇô with a little help from Hugh. 2. With Hugh back in the UK, Paul finds himself alone at River Cottage and sets about getting his winter vegetable crop fed and that involves an organic fertiliser recipe that makes use of some of the farmGÇÖs most unwanted products. 3. With his cows, chooks and veggies thriving, Paul decides itGÇÖs time to explore the nearby coastline and he discovers an abundant source of seafood delicacies. He meets a local lobster expert, and together they catch a crayfish brunch and Paul introduces him to a deliciously different way of eating them. 4. With hardly any rain for weeks, and a malfunctioning water tank, Paul is suddenly faced with a farmerGÇÖs worst fear GÇô a critical shortage of water. His cows, pigs and veggies all depend on a steady supply, so Paul enlists the help of a local farmer to see if they can tap on old spring on the property. 5. PaulGÇÖs aim is to eventually make River Cottage totally self-sufficient GÇô and heGÇÖs well on the way. With his own herbs, vegetables and eggs and cream from Bessie the cow, he whips up his first ever GÇ£all from the farmGÇ¥ meal. 6. River Cottage land-holder, Paul West, is keen to restore the gully which acts as a natural watercourse on his farm GÇô but itGÇÖs almost totally overgrown with blackberries. Paul learns he can hire a herd of hefty eaters to deal with the problem GÇô but will they have the appetite for such a massive job? 7. The local Country WomenGÇÖs Association ladies have a big job for Paul and there might be a sweet reward for him in return. If he can help them paint their headquarters, theyGÇÖve offered to share some of their well-guarded cakeGÇômaking secrets with him. How will his Hazelnut Loaf Cake stand up against some of the finest in the district? 8. ItGÇÖs been nearly four months since Hugh returned to River Cottage in the UK and left Paul to go it alone. But now heGÇÖs back, and heGÇÖs amazed at what he finds. The seeds of River Cottage Australia have well and truly been planted, and the future looks bright indeed.
River Cottage Australia
Can an idea grow anywhere? Celebrated chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is about to find out