About the Otway Harvest Trail

The Otway Harvest Trail formed in 2009 to  showcase Otway Ranges local produce and tourism businesses. The trail’s aim was to attract people to visit and stay in the Otway hinterland, and to benefit members through opportunities arising from the collaboration.

To the consumer, Otway Harvest Trail is a local producers’  trail located in Victoria’s Otway hinterland. The trail, as a collaboration, is a hub for Otway Ranges tourist information and a guide for tourists to the best businesses and operators providing places to eat, places to stay, things to do and local food produce in the Otway Ranges.

The Otway hinterland is blessed with abundant rainfall, rich soil, warm summers and mild winters. A patchwork of farming land nestles against a backdrop of pristine, lush rainforest. The area is dotted with a network of village communities, each a vivid reflection of the history, rural character and natural splendour of their locality. A range of specialist boutique producers have established businesses within the area, attracted by the relaxed lifestyle, natural beauty, and opportunities on offer. There are various high-quality accommodation options available to suit the needs and interests of visitors to the region.

A diverse range` of complementary industries have developed in the Otway hinterland including a strong presence of artists and artist studios, and a range of thriving cottage industries which further enrich the visitor experience.

By carefully managing and marketing the attributes of the Otway Harvest Trail we can deliver long-term benefits to its members, the local community, visitors to the area and the local economy. Contact us or visit the membership page for more information on how to become a member.

 

OUR COMMITTEE

Emma Ashton – President

Emma & Peter Ashton purchased the Forrest Guesthouse in 2013 and established the restaurant ‘Bespoke Harvest’ with business partner Chef Simon Stewart in 2015. Located in the small village of Forrest surrounded by National Park, the restaurant offers a boutique dining experience of locally sourced ingredients, supporting the food and wine growers of the Otways.

Emma was born and raised in the Otways, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University, she started her career in PR & Marketing in Melbourne. Working predominantly in the communications field, she worked across a range of industries from retail cosmetics, to agriculture, financial services, radio and natural resources.

Travelling extensively throughout Australia, as well as living and working in South Australia, Northern Territory and NSW, Emma turned her zest for life and travel into a business in her home town. Returning with her family to run a small business, she developed a relationship with chef Simon Stewart and so began Bespoke Harvest restaurant. Their passion for the region is reflected in the produce used throughout the restaurant menu.

 

 

Sally Richardson – Vice President

Sally bought the Forrest General Store in August 2014 and since then, has offered a high level of service to the local community and the region’s visitors.
Through the store, Sally proudly promotes the produce, products and services of the Otway Harvest Trail and broader region. She is passionate about working with local farmers and producers to showcase what the Otways has to offer. The Forrest General Store also supports the fundraising activities of the Forrest Primary School, Lion’s Club, as well as Forrest’s Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigade and local Men’s Shed.
Sally grew up in a small business family before embarking on a career as a senior graphic designer in the public and private sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom. Sally’s career highlights included working on the Spring Racing Carnival, London Olympics, national political campaigns and a London-based Florence Broadhurst exhibition.
Having grown up by the sea, Sally always wanted to move to the country. She loves bush walking with her dogs and being part of the Forrest community.

 

 

Ami Hillege – Secretary

Highly creative business builder with a passion for local produce and taking the story
of ‘eat locally’ to a broad audience. Strong commercial background underpinned by
broad based management and leadership skills in corporate and small business
environments encompassing team development, financial acumen and project
management. Hands on experience of buying practices, with particular strengths in
product development.
Otway Fields – Gerangamete, VIC 3249 Owner.
August 2011 till present
Innovative Artisan products created from organically grown produce.
Award preserves and salts.
Awards:
2015 Silver Medal Australian Fine Food Awards for Raspberry Vinegar Cordial
2016 Gold Medal Australian Food Awards for Black Garlic Salt
2016 Gold Medal Australian Food Awards for Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms
2017 Gold Medal Australian Food Awards for Black Garlic Salt
2017 Gold Medal Australian Food Awards for Raspberry Vinegar Cordial.
Two of our products were chosen to be part of gift bags for World’s 50 Best Chefs this
year in July.
Distributing our Otways grown products around the greater Victorian region as well as
selling via mail order through Farmhouse Direct across Australia.
Column writer – Otway Life Magazine & Birregurra Mail

 

Dinny Goonan – Treasurer

Dinny Goonan is a foundation member of the Otway Harvest Trail and the proprietor of Dinny Goonan Wines which is a small family run vineyard and winery situated in the Otway hinterland.  The first vines were planted in 1989 and the business has been operating on a commercial basis since the late 1990’s focusing on the production of high quality cool climate Shiraz and Riesling.
Dinny originally qualified as a Social Worker and worked for 20 years full-time and another 10 years part-time in the community services area of local government in Melbourne.  While working full-time he held a number of senior management positions in local government and then specialised as a social planner when he chose to work part-time while establishing his business.
Dinny is a passionate supporter of localism as it expresses itself through the history, identity and produce of a particular area, and believes the Otway hinterland has great potential as the next ‘must visit’  food, wine and produce destination for Victoria.

 

 

Membership

The Otway Harvest Trail consists of a variety of Otway hinterland businesses that share a passion for local produce and locally grown and made products. Each Otway Harvest Trail member business aims to provide opportunities for visitors to the region to get a taste of what’s on offer and available in the Otway region. The...

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