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Harvest: redefining sustainable dining

Harvest is an exciting restaurant, bakery and deli which takes sustainability seriously. Harvest aims to create mouth-watering dishes based on the freshest, most local, seasonal ingredients they can find, all while taking active steps to ensure minimal waste with food, water and energy.

The setting and food

When you step foot into Harvest you will get a sense of elegance with a dash of rustic charm. Located a five-minute drive back from Main Beach in Bryon Bay, a little cottage awaits that beholds a true paddock to plate experience.

Credit: Kitti Gould

The cottage is home to Harvest Newrybar, a restaurant that features a monthly changing menu showcasing the freshest, in-season ingredients. When you come for a meal expect to see the 118-year wood-fired oven well alight and the smell of native ingredients in the air as the chefs create inventive and exciting dishes that let the local ingredients shine.

If you’re after a magnificent wine to pair with your meal you don’t have to look too hard. On the wine list, you will find a large variety of Australian wine labels with some lesser-known varietals. The majority of these wines come from conscientious winemakers who produce these beautiful drops through initiative techniques involving organic and biodynamic farming methods, minimal intervention, chemical and sulphur- free as well as ensuring minimal refining and filtering. Harvest allows guests to not only eat astonishing local produce but to learn more about sustainable food and wine.

If you don’t have time to sit down and relax over a meal and a glass of wine, you still have to call in to check out Harvest’s Deli. Browse the well-stocked shelves and find inspiration for your next at-home dish. You will find an assortment of local artisan goods like sauces, condiments, cheese, charcuterie and of course Harvest’s very own wood-fired sourdough from the bakery. However, Harvest does so much more in the sustainability space than just supporting local producers and showcasing native ingredients.

Sustainable initiatives in the kitchen

Amazingly the kitchen and bar create zero waste. Harvests buys in whole animals which they then break down and use every part of, with by-products used in sauces and stocks. This also applies to fruit and vegetables with any bits and bobs leftover used to make sauces, vinegars and syrups. You might be wondering what they do with the minuscule amount of food waste that cannot be used?

Harvest breaks down their waste into general waste, recycling and composting which ensures minimal landfill. Any polystyrene from the deliveries is either recycled or sent back to the suppliers but they also get someone to collect their used cooking oil which is recycled to make biodiesel. The composting occurs on-site with the kitchen and bar waste turned into fertilizer for the Harvest gardens. The used coffee ground from the bar is also composted on-site and packed in compostable bags for the local community to take home to their own gardens and use.

Harvest has also opted to use compostable plant-based takeaway containers, coffee cups and rubbish bags and all the paper in the restaurant including menus, toilet paper and napkins are made from 100% recycled paper. To take it a step further, Harvest also donates any unsold bread to Liberation Larder, which is a local organisation that feeds the homeless.

Credit: Kitti Gould

Harvest goes above and beyond to lower their carbon emissions by working with local suppliers, producers and growers including Allpress Coffee, Cooper’s Shoot Tomatoes, Picone Exotic Fruits, Bangalow Pork, Byron Bay Grass-Fed Beef and Bryon Bay Seafood Market to just name a few. The business has also chosen to partner with The Good Fish Project which ensures the seafood supplied to the restaurant is sustainably sourced, but the project also helps the general public understand the importance of sustainable seafood. However, they do a fair bit inhouse too.

Harvest has its own bakery, deli and garden on site which not only reduce food mileage but ensure the freshest ingredients. They also have their very own Flow Hive which is home to Australian sugarbag bees. This hive of bees provides the restaurant with honey, helps pollinate the surrounding community gardens all while supporting the struggling bee population. Amazingly, Harvest also has their very own food research and forager, Peter Hardwick, who hunts down the best Australian native ingredients in the surrounding Bryon Bay. However, Peter not only foragers but replenishes the native ingredients by actively planting endangered salt marches at Shaws Bay and Ballina.

Credit: Raffaella Dice

Sustainable initiatives and energy

Harvest has also taken proactive steps in reducing energy consumption. Roughly 50% of their rooftop is covered in solar panels with the aim to have the whole roof covered in 2022. The restaurant is also in the process of changing over all of their lightbulbs to LED which uses 7 times less energy than other bulbs. Water is also a precious resource which Harvest monitors and uses wisely. Interestingly they have installed their own greywater recycling system to help treat their greywater on-site and help prevent water pollution.

Community-centred work

Harvest also works closely with the broader community to drive sustainable change. One initiative created is Harvest Roots Incorporated. This is a not-for-profit association which aims to rehabilitate and reforest degraded pastureland, farmland, roadways and waterways. This program aims to make sustainability everybody’s business by educating, involving and inspiring the community about the importance of regenerative agricultural land for our future. They have also carried this ethos forward, or back, to the younger generation. Harvest has now created GROW which is aimed at inspiring children to understand, identify and explore sustainable food.

Given all their work, Harvest has received recognition and won multiple accolades. In 2017 and 2018 Harvest won the Best Small Wine List of the Year Award and has also been awarded One Hat by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide in 2018 and again in 2019. They have also collected the People’s Choice Wineslinger, Young Gun of the Year Innocent Bystander award in 2018.

When you come to visit you will understand what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t matter if you come for lunch or dinner in summer or winter, Harvest is the perfect location to enjoy sustainable food.

Where?

Website: www.harvestnewrybar.com.au

Address: 18-22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar Village NSW 2479, Byron Bay Hinterland

When?

Lunch: Thursday – Sunday | 12pm-3pm

Dinner: Thursday – Saturday | 5:30pm-8:30pm

Deli: Monday – Friday | 8am-3pm, Saturday – Sunday | 8am-4pm 

Coffee Cart: Monday to Friday: 6:30am-2pm

Ella Blundell
Ella’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But when she isn’t thinking about or eating food she can be found learning or talking to people about her passions: tourism and sustainability.