Christmas has come early for the tiny town of Uralla in the state’s Northern Tablelands after Buy Regional businesses delivered $120,000 worth of Christmas hampers full of regional NSW food, drink and tasty treats to Sydney Christmas gift givers.
Uralla locals gathered together at the St Johns Church Hall on Monday to pack 1,500 Christmas hampers, rallying to finalise orders lodged with businesses across the New England region via the NSW Government’s Buy Regional webpage.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the packed hampers were loaded onto a truck and driven 450km to Sydney and delivered to clients based in the CBD and the suburbs on Tuesday, including Norths Leagues Club, the Australian Stock Exchange, Bird & Bird and Henry & Hymas.
“Uralla has a population of about 2,700 people and like many towns in the bush the drought and bush fires are making life very tough for them, but it’s absolutely amazing to hear how the community has come together to help one another,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This is what it means to live in the bush, the willingness to lend a hand to your community, whether it’s checking in on your neighbours to make sure they’re okay, volunteering with a Rural Fire Brigade, or helping to pack Christmas hampers.
“We’re sharing these stories to show Sydneysiders that their generosity is making a real difference so if you haven’t already, check out the Buy Regional webpage and give regional businesses the best Christmas gift possible – your business.
More than 250 regional businesses are featured on Buy Regional, the NSW Government webpage with more than 330,000 page views that showcases regional sellers, making it easy to find the perfect Christmas gift and support regional NSW.
Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW and Member for the Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall thanked Sydneysiders for supporting the Northern Tablelands community and encouraged shoppers to continue buying meat and produce from regional NSW.
“The hampers being put together showcase the world-class food and drink available from local producers, handpicked ingredients, handmade products and full of the flavour and care you’ll only find in regional NSW,” Mr Marshall said.
“I know each and every person about to receive one of these hampers is about to enjoy an amazing experience and I encourage those people to share food selfies tagged with #buyregional to help spread the word about our amazing produce.”
“Favour the flavour of regional NSW and ask your Sydney butcher or greengrocer for meat, poultry and produce provided by NSW farmers or check out the Buy Regional hub for honey and preserves, all sourced from our regions.”
Tara Toomey, from Uralla business The Humble Cook and the Seasons of New England business group, said the packing party was the culmination of six weeks of local owners working around the clock to make sure orders were delivered in time for Christmas.
“It’s been a bit tough lately, with the drought and bush fires and I don’t really have the words to do this justice and I’m pretty weary and a bit emotional, but Buy Regional is such a great thing, supporting businesses directly and the wider community,” Mrs Toomey said.
“The hamper orders are supporting 17 New England businesses directly, another three businesses through extra work generated by these orders and more local businesses than I can count right now are helping us with supplies, labour and raw materials for our products.
“The 1,500 or so hampers we’re delivering this week come on top of hundreds of others we’ve already sent to Buy Regional shoppers in the past few weeks and I know a lot of other regional businesses have also been sending goods to Sydney regularly.”
The hampers range from $60 to $100 and include locally produced jams, peanut brittle, nougat, handmade palm oil free natural soap, beef jerky, berry jam, beetroot relish, honey, coffee, screen printed tea towels, tea, dukkah, handmade hot chocolate, Dobson’s Distillery gin and handmade tomato sauces from Uralla’s renowned Pie Mechanic bakery.
“We’ll donate some of the proceeds to the volunteer organisations and others helping us out, sharing the generosity Sydneysiders have shown us over the past six weeks, the people of Uralla, Kentucky, Kingstown, Tamworth, Armidale, Tenterfield and beyond thank you,” Mrs Toomey said.
“We are all part of a farming community and we’re directly connected to our farmers and the positive flow on effects from the money coming into our cash registers will be huge.
“I’ve spoken to so many people who have jumped onto Buy Regional and Buy from the Bush, and the social media aspect is good but many businesses have told me their customers love being able to browse through the Buy Regional webpage and seeing everything in one place.”
Mr Barilaro said Australia Post data for the first few weeks of November indicates some regional NSW outlets are sending 30 per cent more parcels compared to their daily average, which is equal to around 60-70 extra parcels per day.
“Working with #buyfromthebush, #Thankful4Farmers and #OneDayCloserToRain, Buy Regional is shining a spotlight on the world-class food, craft, fashion and art on offer across our regions and the creativity and ingenuity of producers and makers in the bush,” Mr Barilaro said.
Visit the Buy Regional webpage at: www.nsw.gov.au/buyregional.