Sustainable innovation scores double at SA food awards

Posted by Josette Dunn on 22nd November 2010

The Australian Caper Company has scored a double win at the 2010 South Australian Premier’s Food Industry Awards, announced last week in Adelaide.Taking out the combination of the Peats Soil Creating Sustainability Award and the SARDI Leading Innovation Award was a special moment for company founder, Jonathon Trewartha.

“With our products, you are eating the herb, the leaf and fruit of the plant. The crop not only creates vital rural jobs but is environmentally sustainable,” Mr Trewartha said.

“The business has created jobs for the community in Mannum and enabled farmers to diversify into a crop and utilise land that is so degraded that it cannot sustain other crops,” he said.

The awards recognize both the impact of the business on the local environment and the innovative processing techniques that result in Australian Caper Company products retaining twice as many anti-oxidants and a more intense flavour than competing imported capers.

“We take the product from the field to the table in the minimum number of steps to optimise flavour and minimise oxidation,” he said.

In accepting the two awards, Mr Trewartha paid tribute to Maggie Beer, who first wrote about the lack of local caper production in 1998. She caught the mining engineer’s attention and set him on a path to harvest Australia’s first commercial caper crop in 2006, grown on the banks of the River Murray.

“I feel that the knowledge of using locally grown Australian Capers and Caperberries adds to the enjoyment of eating them, particularly because they are a plant requiring a minimum amount of Australia’s precious water and grow in the poorest soils,” he said.

The Australian Caper Company now packages a range of products for retail and food service, including caper buds in sea salt, caper buds in extra virgin olive oil, caperberries in wine vinegar and caper salt.

The winners of the 2010 Premier’s Food Industry Awards were announced recently acknowledging those who are committed to quality and consistency in what they grow and create. This is the 13th year of the awards and Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA), who host the award program, say it has been a record year for both entries and first time entrants.