A selection of farmers and producers are opening their gates for a weekend, giving the public the chance to go behind the scenes on the farms, meet the people who grow and make their food and hear their stories.
Participating in the Farmgate Festival will be Tascargots, a boutique snail farm in West Tamar.
Owners Nicole and Frank Huisman are bringing their European tradition to Tasmania because they noticed a market void.
“We started because it wasn’t done before and we think there’s a market…snails are very common in Europe if you ask anyone in France, Italy or even the UK they are always on the menu. You don't eat them every day, they are a delicacy,” Mrs Huisman said.
“We started last year and we are working on getting a good number of snails. We have had interest from some restaurants, but our numbers aren’t ready yet.”
Mrs Huisman said if people like oyster or abalone or even wild mushrooms, then the chances are they will love snails.
“I think they have fantastic potential in Tasmania. Everyone is interested, and there’s a surprisingly large number of people who have travelled and had the experience of eating snails,” she said.
Although most Tasmanians think snails are garden pest, Mrs Huisman said changing perspectives wouldn't be difficult.
“Chefs are always a bit more open-minded and a bit more familiar with other things,” Mrs Huisman said.
The farm is organic and all natural.
“We make sure to respect the snails natural cycle. They are in a snail pen, but it’s meters long and ensures their natural cycle stay intact,” Mrs Huisman said.
She said Tasmania was a good climate for the snails, as it’s “not too hot and not too cold.”
The snail farm is Frank and Nicole’s second business. The couple also owns Winter Brook Vineyard, which specialises in both wine and cider producing grapes and apples on the property. Short tours will also be available at the vineyard as part of the Farmgate Festival.
The festival aims to educate people on how real food is produced and highlight the Tamar Valley region.
Five new farms have come on board as part of this year’s festival, joining eleven farms which participated in the inaugural year of the festival. Farms offer a wide range of experiences from tours encompassing production and processing techniques, product tastings, animal encounters and farmgate sales.
The festival spans across November 24 and 25, tickets are necessary an can be purchased online at trybooking.com. Children under 15 are free and do not need a festival pass.