Go Beyond the Farm Gate with Danielle Costley »

A culinary journey through Australia's South West

By Sara Schwarz
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South West Balleadas and Guacamole - from Beyond the Farm Gate by Danielle Costley

South West Balleadas and Guacamole - from Beyond the Farm Gate by Danielle Costley

A Manjimup vineyard in the Southern Forests wine region of Western Australia
Chris from River Valley’s sheep dairy in South-West WA
Karri trees, Margaret River, Western Australia
Beyond the Farm Gate by Danielle Costley


This book takes you on a culinary journey through Western Australia's South West, where you'll visit a Calabrian-inspired olive grove, a silk and mulberry farm, an artisan sheep dairy and more as you meet 31 growers and producers around the region.

Beyond the Farm Gate by Danielle Costley with its glorious photos by Chris Gurney, is highly likely to inspire travel plans especially if pored over with a glass of delicious Western Australian wine in hand.

Ever since I learnt about the majestic karri and jarrah forests of south-west Western Australia in a high school geography lesson, this region has held a special place in my heart. Sadly, while my travels have taken me to many inspiring places, I have yet to make it to this special corner of Australia. Danielle Costley’s Beyond the Farm Gate inspires me to get my act together and make it my resolution to plan a family trip there soon.

As the title states, this is a culinary journey through the region, with the author interviewing thirty-one beef and dairy farmers, winemakers, cheese makers, truffle seekers, berry pickers, macadamia nut growers and more. Being quite a sizeable area, the book is sensibly divided up by the four points of the compass.

This layout offers a wonderful way to plan my own gourmet holiday (and yours), around WA's south west, while the gorgeous imagery and helpful maps will inspire a plethora of back road adventures.

The Northern Regions, around the town of Bunbury, are home to some of the world’s happiest chooks, a Calabrian-inspired olive grove, artisan sheep dairy and a macadamia nut farm.

The Western Regions, centred around the famous township of Margaret River [see links below], looks beyond the wineries the region is best known for, and offers wagyu beef and raw jarrah honey producers, fat lambs grazing on saltbush, a unique abalone business, and one of Australia’s few silk farms and mulberry tea producers.

In the Eastern Regions, around the townships of Nannup and Bridgetown, you’ll discover an organic farm that is home to some rather spoilt camels, an inland marron (fresh water crayfish) farm, a 35 year-old chestnut grove, and a biodynamic farm that has literally risen from the ashes.

If you are a vegetarian or simply a fan of good fruit and vegetables then you may want to head straight south. Here you will find hidden groves and rich fields producing walnuts, truffles, potatoes, and all manner of stonefruit and berries. The Southern Regions [see links below] are also home to the majestic timber giants that inspired me in my school days!

Ms Costley has interviewed the producers in depth and offers the armchair traveller their fascinating stories in a highly personal, engaging and entertaining format. Together these articles form an in-depth insight into the rich tapestry of the region, and the very special people who have chosen to make the area their livelihood, community and home.

To further inspire your adventures, and to remind you to pack a cooler bag or two on your travels, after the interviews for each region you will find a selection of delectable recipes featuring the hero products from each farmer and producer.

Many of these recipes are treasured family ones direct from the farmer and have never been written up before for public consumption, so you are most definitely in for a treat.

My whole family adored Chris Gurney’s photography and even though the book is a fairly hefty tome, my small son will often drag it over to me so we can spend time exploring the photos of sleek and content cows, farm dogs, flocks of startling white sheep, purple-blue marron, and happy chickens producing the brightest orange yolks you’ll ever have the pleasure to taste.

After reading through Beyond the Farm Gate again, I found myself with a glass of West Australian chardonnay in hand, searching for flights to Western Australia. I’ll guarantee you’ll likely find yourself googling for flights there too.


Beyond the Farm Gate – a culinary journey through Australia’s South West by Danielle Costley with photographs by Chris Gurney is published by Margaret River Press (WA, 2015, HB, RRP A$60.00). It is available at good bookshops and direct from the publisher here »

Read an extract on Artisan sheep cheeses at their best »

Read the media release here »

You can also purchase via Booko here »


  • South West WA (WA)

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February 22nd, 2016
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