The delicious. Produce Awards, in partnership with Miele, are a celebration of Australia’s magnificent bounty of ethical, sustainable and innovative ingredients, and the passionate, talented people behind them. Read on for our 2017 winners.

It’s called a lazy susan, but the rotating tray at the centre of the delicious. Produce Awards was spinning at a frenetic pace. That morning, 10 of the country’s boldface chefs and cooks had convened in Sydney for Australia’s leading showcase of breakthrough homegrown produce. For two animated days in June, the learned judges tasted, rated and debated every single ingredient from cultured butter to Wagyu beef, pink salt to greenlip abalone, heirloom carrot to spanner crab. In the end, winners were anointed, yet not before the serving turntable almost came off its axis.

Day one kicked off with laughter. When project manager Lucy Allon reiterated that tastings would be blind, new judge Colin Fassnidge beamed waggishly. “That doesn’t mean you’re getting drunk,” declared Matt Moran as he and Guillaume Brahimi chuckled. The trio were the class jesters. In contrast, Christine Manfield and Alla Wolf-Tasker were composed and studious. Melburnians Shannon Bennett, Andrew McConnell and Ashley Palmer-Watts, another new judge, were quietly focused. Maggie Beer and Peter Gilmore, meanwhile, shared erudite commentary on farming.

“It’s a shimonita,” offered Gilmore when the group questioned the provenance of an exotic Y-shaped onion rarely seen outside of Japan; this one hailed from central New South Wales. The ‘From the Earth’ category was particularly well-represented this year, and the judges were elated with the array of vegetables. “Quick, get your ute!” deadpanned Wolf-Tasker on viewing the spread of biodynamic greens, oyster mushrooms and butter lettuces. Some entrants, like a cheese encrusted with green ants, drew puzzled reactions. Others, like a rock lobster weighing in at almost three kilograms, prompted excitable Instagram posts.

The judging extravaganza is the culmination of months of activity. National submissions for the annual awards, now in their 12th outing, begin trickling in the previous year. A chef must nominate each candidate, while Allon ensures they are sustainable, ethical and truly innovative. State judging occurs in March. “We want to spotlight new and native products, and outstandingly consistent producers,” she said. The lengths some players go to are impressive. A farmer from Victoria drove her frozen blueberries to Sydney to ensure their safe passage. Others sent humorous notes to the judges. “I enjoy being your muse, but I long to be your concubine,” wrote one.

Tempestuous discussions marked day two. After Allon and her team totalled the scores, there were clear-cut winners and some prizes to be thrashed out. Manfield praised the capers from South Australia. “What a great initiative,” she said. Fassnidge was wowed by the organic rice from NSW. “It had such complexity,” he said. Bennett was sweet on the Tasmanian leatherwood honey. And on it went until, a few hours later, all the trophies had been allotted. Calmness and camaraderie returned to the room. “Maybe we could all go on tour to France next,” said Wolf-Tasker.

For more be sure to pick up your special copy of the September issue, out August 10.

2017 delicious. Produce Awards National Winners:

From the earth

Winner: Randall Organic Rice, Koshihikari

Gold medallists:

Angelica Organic Farm Heirloom Carrots and Beetroots
Cygnet Mushroom Farm Gourmet Speciality Mushrooms
Epicurean Harvest Organic Shimonita Negi (The One Year Onion)
Glenora Heritage Produce Large Leaf Rocket (Arugula)
Meru Miso Sweet White Shiro
Newcastle Greens Micro Greens and Calvin Lamborn Snap Greens
Ngeringa Vineyards Biodynamic Mixed Salad Leaves
Parkesbourne Produce Alpine Strawberries
Pretty Produce Leaf Mix and Edible Flowers
The Fermentary Fig and Ginger Water Kefir
The Lime Caviar Company Finger Limes
Transition Farm Minutina (Leafy Greens)
Trewhella Farm Biodynamic ‘Brigitte’ Blueberries
Wellington Apiary Leatherwood Pure Tasmanian Honey
Weston Farm Smoked Paprika

From the dairy

Winner: Cedar Street Cheeserie, A Love Supreme

Gold medallists:

High Valley Mudgee Cheese Co Fetta
Hindmarsh Valley Dairy Bo Peep Sheep’s Milk Cheese
Holy Goat Nectar Cheese
Pyengana Dairy Company 12+ Months Tasty Cheddar
Schulz Organic Farms Organic Full Cream Milk

From the paddock

Winner: Piccolo Farm, Pastured Quail

Gold Medallists:

Camden Valley Veal Rosé Veal
Mayura Station Full-Blood Wagyu Beef
Moorlands Biodynamic Lamb Biodynamic Texel Lamb
Papanui Open Range Eggs
Sher Wagyu F1 Black Label Ribeye
Springfield Deer Farm Venison
U Goose Free Range Whole Dressed Goose
Warialda Beef Belted Galloway Beef

From the sea

Winner: Richard Hamilton, Spanner Crab

Gold Medallists:

Ocean Grown Abalone Ranched Greenlip Abalone
SeaBounty Australian Blue Mussels
South Coast Sea Urchins Ozi Uni Sea Urchin Roe
Tathra Oysters Nelson Lake 5 Year Old Sydney Rock Oysters

Best new product

Winner: Camden Valley Veal, Rosé Veal

Producer of the year

Winner: Ocean Grown Abalone, Ranched Greenlip Abalone

In the bottle

Winner: Maidenii Classic Vermouth

Outstanding design

Winner: Cone 11 Ceramic

The Maggie Beer award for outstanding contribution

Winner: Will Studd

The outstanding innovation award

Winner: The Lime Caviar Company

The outstanding artisan award

Winner: Sharon Flynn, The Fermentary

The unearthed next gen chef award

Winner: Josh Niland, Saint Peter

Outstanding native producer

Winner: Warren & Ewa Jones, Tumbeela Native Bushfoods

Outstanding region

Winner: Adelaide Hills, SA

Outstanding farmers’ market

Winner: Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market, Tasmania


Albany Farmers Market, WA
SAGE Farmers Market Moruya, NSW
Willunga Farmers Market, SA

The Alla Wolf-Tasker Foundation Scholarship 2017

Winner: Michael & Cressida McNamara, Pecora Dairy

Thank you

National judges

Maggie Beer, Awards Patron
Matt Moran, 2017 Ambassador
Ashley Palmer-Watts, International Guest Judge
Shannon Bennett
Guillaume Brahimi
Peter Gilmore
Christine Manfield
Andrew McConnell
Alla Wolf-Tasker
Colin Fassnidge

Expert panel

Anthony Puharich (Vic’s Meat)
John Susman (Fishtales)
Sally Gosper (Simon Johnson Providore)

Critics panel

Jane Adams
Mike Bennie (delicious. drinks writer)
Anthony Huckstep (delicious. critic)
John Lethlean
Ross and Sunny Lusted (The Bridge Room, Sydney)
Simon Marnie
Matt Preston (senior editor, delicious.)
Dan Stock (Herald Sun)
Simon Wilkinson (The Advertiser)

Special thanks to our dedicated Produce Awards Project Manager Lucy Allon, who works tirelessly to organise these awards.

State judges

State chefs nominate products from their state to put forward to national judging.


David Rayner, Thomas Corner Eatery
Jake Nicolson, Blackbird Bar & Grill
Ryan Squires, Esquire

New South Wales

Alex Herbert, Bird Cow Fish
Martin Boetz, The Cooks Co-Op
Lennox Hastie, Firedoor
Monty Koludrovic, Icebergs Dining Room And Bar; The Dolphin
Mike McEnearney, No.1 Bent Street; Kitchen By Mike


Dave Verheul, The Town Mouse; Embla
Matt Stone, Oakridge Wines
Nicky Riemer, Bellota
Paul Wilson, Wilson & Market; Mr Wilson

South Australia

David Swain, Fino Seppeltsfield
Mark McNamara, St. Hugo’s, Barossa
Paul Baker, Botanic Gardens Restaurant


Philippe Leban, A Tiny Place
David Moyle, Longsong, Melbourne
Iain Todd, Franklin
Christian Ryan and Glenn Byrnes, Aloft

Western Australia

Dan Masters, Rockpool Perth
Kiren Mainwaring, Co-Op Dining
Oliver Gould, The Shorehouse Perth
Seth James, Wills Domain