Revered forager Peter Hardwick has joined the team at Harvest. In a game changing move, the appointment of a full time forager has raised questions as to what this actually means and what exactly is it that a forager does.
Originally reigning from the Northern Rivers region, Peter has since he was a child has been invested and intrigued in the use of wild and native plants. Having begun a career in 1977 starting with the systematic assessing of various species and their cropping potential, saw Peter embark upon studying horticulture and observing native foods including Davidson’s plum, riberry, magneta lilly pilly, plum pine, bunya nut and lemon myrtle.
The 80’s involved the foundation of a small specialist native food business, working in conjunction with the NSW Department of Agriculture and with influential food industry people in Sydney passing on information on suitable native subtropical food plant species and value-adding ideas, and as a result many of the species became established in the developing market, like riberry, plum pine, and later Dorrigo pepper, warrigal greens, lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle.
After setting up Wilderness Foods Nursery developing methods of improved plant selection and propagation, Peter worked closely with Dr. Ian Southwell, Essential Oils Unit, NSW Agriculture in essential oils analysis. This pioneering work included lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, Dorrigo pepper and riberry. This saw the development of a close working relationship with local Aboriginal communities, assisting in native food plantings and advice.
From the 1990’s until now, Peter has focused his work primarily in continuing research into native food plants and teaching techniques for regenerating native food plants in ecosystem based plantings and supplying native food plant seed to nurseries.
Beginning work with fermenting native foods in 2007, this process has become a major part of Peter’s work today. Complemented by a mutually beneficial relationship with the Plant Science department at Southern Cross University, Peter has plant samples tested for toxins and potential health compounds.
In 2014 Peter was established as a researcher and forager for three hat Restaurant Orana in Adelaide. With a desire to return to the Northern Rivers, has seen Peter take position as full tome forager at Harvest Newrybar.