Potato growers Glen and Dean Ryan will open their 512ha family farm to visitors as part of Unearthed Pemberton, a new 10-day festival to be held from May 8-17 with events falling under three main categories: food and wine, art and heritage, and adventure.

Spearheaded by the Pemberton Visitor Centre, it will focus on Pemberton, with events also scheduled for Manjimup, Northcliffe and Quinninup as Southern Forests builds on a reputation established by the Truffle Kerfuffle in June and the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival in December.

Dean Ryan said people would get an idea of harvesting, see how washing was done and watch potatoes graded in the packing shed.

“Hopefully, they will have their eyes opened to new varieties, ” he said. “We grow 11, have about another eight in trial with the Potato Marketing Corporation, plus a few of our own. This year we're looking at releasing three — soprano, orchestra and maranca — in small quantities. All are yellow-flesh varieties, which is the way the market seems to be going.”

Pick of the crop is red-skinned Laura because it's such a good all-rounder for boiling, mashing and roasting with its dark yellow, tasty flesh.

Pemberton Visitor Centre president Mark Hudson said the inaugural festival would not only provide activities for visitors and locals, but showcase the interaction between producers, artisans, industry and commerce. Scheduled events include a truffle demonstration and information session at the Truffle & Wine Co. in Manjimup, food tours by the Pemberton Discovery Centre, degustation meals at Gloucester Motel and Hidden River Estate Winery and Cafe, a cooking class by Sophie Zalokar at Foragers and sausage making with Southerners Football Club.

Unearthed Festival highlights


- Three Chefs and a Tram degustation at Hidden River Estate Winery and Cafe Restaurant, Pemberton.

- Paddock to Palate degustation at Gloucester Motel and Restaurant, Pemberton.

- Truffle lecture and tastings at the Truffle & Wine Co., Manjimup.

- Cooking class at Foragers with Sophie Zalokar, Pemberton.

- Sausage making with Southerners Football Club.

- Manjimup Farmers Market comes to the Pemberton Mill Hall on May 9.

- Meet the Producer with Jill Baker, of Pemberton Finger Limes

- Wine Master Class with Silkwood sommelier George Gresty.

- Tour WA Chip Factory, Manjimup.

- Tour Ryan family potato farm, Manjimup.

- Tour Holy Smoke, Manjimup.

- Tour Fontanini Fruit and Nut Farm, Manjimup.

Art and Heritage

- Wood-carving workshops at Pemberton Fine Woodcraft Gallery.

- Art workshops by Tony Windberg.

- Open studio with Mark Grey-Smith.


- 2 Oceans Mountain Bike Race (2oceansmtb.com)

- Guided stargazing with Astronomical Society.

- Adventure and Eco Tours with Pemberton Discovery Tours. pembertondiscoverytours.com.au

© The West Australian

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