Where rugged outdoor producers meet the finest of dining tables.
There’s a real honesty and passion in it - not only for what is created, but for how it is made and where it comes from.
In the riverina region of Victoria at the base of the Rubicon River, working rain hail or shine, are the people of Yarra Valley Caviar. They're renowned for the plump orange roe their salmon and trout produce, and also for being the only aquaculture farm to milk all of their fish by hand.
"Both my business partner Mark and I have aquatic science degrees and are self-confessed environmentalists", says part-owner Nick Gorman.
"So caring for the fish and the surrounding riverine areas comes naturally to us."
His words are reflected in the way the farm is run. Fish are farmed only for their eggs, not their flesh. Salmon ponds are all gravity fed from the river, and re-fed through settling ponds that extract any suspended sediment. Ponds are never overstocked, fish are never force-fed and best practice is always enforced to keep the farm disease free without having to use chemicals or antibiotics.
The hand-milking process is gentle and natural to minimise any stress on the fish. Nick says strong hands and a gentle touch are the key.
“People say it’s a really connective experience, especially with some of the 10 year old fish who weigh over 10kg!"
And after the roe has been collected, Nick loves seeing the process start again every time.
“It’s great to be able to watch a fish come back to life after it's been milked, to know that it’s going to continue to live for next season, and many more seasons after that."
That uncompromising commitment pays off, resulting in an exquisite line of highly awarded premium caviar.
"We won Best Artisan Producer for the sea category at the Delicious Produce Awards this year, and we’re nearly ready to launch our online store which is very exciting. Also, our new smoked salmon caviar will be available shortly!”
We look forward to trying it with a nice cocktail to match.