Now into its fourth season, River Cottage Australia continues to satisfy our appetite for fresh food and rural charms.
It’s the dream of many stuck-in-a-rut urban commuters... the thought of moving to an idyllic coastal location, buying a farm, growing your own food, meeting the neighbours and then having them all around for glorious long lunches on a huge outdoor table artfully set in your picturesque orchard.
However, is the reality ever like that? Paul West, host of River Cottage Australia, laughs as he sets the record straight about life spent on rural farmland.
“There are days where that happens,” he says. “Where you have a beautiful lunch outside with beautiful wine and all the food from the farm and good company and it’s amazing. And then there are other days like just recently when it’s been raining for five days straight, all the fences have blown over, the pigs and hens are knee-deep in mud and they have escaped. You have got to catch them – and the pigs are 120 kilos each. You can’t just go ‘oh, it’s a bit rainy today; I might just curl up and read a book and have a cuppa’.”
Not that West would swap his life in Tilba, located at the sleepy end of the NSW South Coast, for anything. “There’s always something different coming up you have to respond to, so I find that a great source of inspiration,” he says.
“It’s always good to keep an eye on that romantic view because that’s often what inspires us and keeps us going. But you also have to grit your teeth and bite down through the stuff that’s the polar opposite, which is part of reality.”
The new series of River Cottage Australia lets viewers meet West’s young family, including one-year-old Otto, for the first time. And, in another storyline, West and his mates build a food van to hit the road to discover new producers and regional markets.
River Cottage Australia Season 4 airs Tuesdays from March 29 at 8:30pm on LifeStyle FOOD.
This is an excerpt from the March issue of the Foxtel Magazine. To subscribe, click here.