Back to your Roots

Photo: Grown and Gathered credit Linsey Rendell

By Richard Cornish

One thing I truly I love about events such as Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s winter offering The Roast Collection, is their ability to champion and raise the profile of the producers. We’re talking about the farmers who grow the food that feeds and nourishes us.

Two of Victoria’s quiet achievers are young husband and wife team Matt and Lentil Purbrick whose vegetables are being served up at Crawl ‘n’ Bite on Tuesday 23rd June.

Known as Grown and Gathered, the Purbricks have a small patch of fertile soil on a bend of the Goulburn River opposite the historic Chateau Tahbilk owned by Matt’s family.

Surrounded by river red gum forest they grow an amazingly diverse range of vegetables and flowers in deep rich soil they have nurtured using organic farming practices.

“We have a closed loop principle,” says Matt. “If we send off 100kg of vegetables, we bring back the same weight in compostable material from the restaurants we supply and the homes we deliver to.” (He says this over a noisy chorus of frogs that live in the billabongs surrounding the garden).

The Purbricks have grown a special bed of artichoke-like cardoons for the kitchen teak at Persillade in East Melbourne. There, they are going to cook them a la barigoule with white wine and aromatic vegetables and serving them with a natural wine made by Dirty Black Denim from sauvignon blanc grapes fermented naturally in a demijohn, on skins, under a layer of flor.

This vegetarian progressive dinner starts at Ombra where a dish of eggplant will be served with a natural wine made by Julian Castagna at Beechworth, followed by a wonderful dish of confit celeriac at Pei Modern.

Grown and Gathered’s veggie box scheme will start up again in early spring. To find out more visit They also supply restaurants such as and

Find out more about this year’s series of winter Crawl ‘n’ Bite click here.


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