It’s hard to miss Elsa and Damien Hughes’ farm in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley – it’s pretty.
- Edible flowers are in full bloom in Queensland’s Garden City
- Flowers have a visual impact and add aesthetic value to dishes
- Restaurants and cafes use edible flowers in their dishes in the spirit of Toowoomba’s Flower Carnival
When tomatoes didn’t pay the bills at the start of the year, they knew it was time to branch out, and now they have an Instagram-worthy crop of edible flowers.
“The impact of crops is quite striking,” said Mr. Hughes.
“It’s actually really nice to be able to grow something as beautiful as this.”
The demand for edible flowers has grown as fast as flowers.
In the past, edible flowers were primarily considered a culinary treat only found in expensive restaurants, but the couple say they found their flowers popular in food markets, and some are found in bakeries.
The varieties are similar to those found in the gardens of yesteryear.
âWe grow dianthus, violas, pansies, snap dragons, marigolds and fuchsias,â Mr. Hughes said.
But he quickly warned people not to snack on any colorful flower in the nearby park or garden.
âWe have done a lot of research on edible flowers,â he explained.
“We’ve also started using biological pest controlâ¦ so we don’t need to use chemicals.”
During Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, it’s not just the vases that are full of flowers.
The windows of Baker’s Duck bakery are full of pansies and violas, placed on pastries.
“I will not put anything on our Danish that is not edible,” said pastry chef Katy Woods.
âA lot of the flowers we use have such a light taste that they can’t overpower what we use them on anyway.
“We have a survey in the kitchen, for people who eat flowers and people who don’t and it’s fairly well split 50-50.”
Locals continue to thrive despite COVID
When picking the flowers, a comfortable stool is essential during harvest, Ms. Hughes said.
âAll the flowers are hand picked and it has to be done with delicacy and precision as you have to select to make sure the flower is in good condition and there are no marks,â she said. declared.
The couple have explored interstate and international markets for their flowers and hope to fly trays out of nearby Wellcamp Airport.
But like many other agricultural producers, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into jobs with long wait times not being kind to fresh flowers at all.
âThe market is afraid of COVID lockdowns and you will get a huge order that will be canceled. [But] in the meantime, we still have to pick the flowers because they have to stay fresh. “
In the spring, however, the farmers are happy to see their flowers on local dishes.
âPeople are like, ‘Are we eating this piece, it’s too good to eat,’â Mrs. Woods said with a laugh.