People go nuts for Porrij
IT'S OFFICIAL, the best gluten-free porridge in Australia is produced right here in Byron Bay by Brookfarm.
The local business last week took out the Nature and Health magazine award for their gluten-free Porrij.
Brookfarm owner Pam Brook said she spent six months developing the award-winning breakfast.
"My staff helped me reach the eureka moment when we were balancing the flavours," Ms Brook said.
"If you are a coeliac or have gluten intolerance, your choices seem to be very limited and our Gluten Free Porrij is full of flavour and ticks all the critical health boxes."
Brookfarm was established by Ms Brook and husband Martin on a rundown dairy farm in 1989, after they planted 4500 macadamia trees and 30,000 rainforest trees to eradicate the weeds.
They quickly discovered that the way to make their farm-based business sustainable and viable was to value-add to their nut crop.
After manufacturing in the local bakery for the first three years, they built a factory on their farm in 2003, then a larger factory in the Byron Bay Industrial Estate in 2009. Plans are under way for a third factory there next year.
"We have been going from strength to strength as a manufacturer," Ms Brook said. "Even though we are going for gradual sustainable growth, we are still growing at 15-20% each year.
"Ours is a family business, so it's important for us to have the right staff.
"In an area such as this you may not be able to select on the basis of skills, but you can select for attitude and then train for skills."
"But no amount of skill will ever make up for the wrong attitude."
The Brooks also prefer to sell their product through independent supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet food stores.
"The independents support us and we support them, they negotiate fairly with us and for smaller businesses its the best way to develop," Ms Brook said.