A Griffith dining hot spot has taken innovative steps to lead Griffith's hospitality industry into a more sustainable future. Luke Piccolo, head chef and owner of Limone restaurant is creating a food experience that focuses on home grown, seasonal produce grown at his family farm, something that he says ticks all the boxes of what the future consumer is looking for.
Five years ago, the Piccolo family opened Limone with a long term vision to stay in the driver's seat in terms of the quality of produce that ended up on their diner's plates.
"I always wanted to have a lot more control over what we use in our kitchen so that is where the vegetable garden came in," Luke Piccolo said.
The Piccolo family have transformed their Lake Wyangan citrus farm to fit their vision of Limone, converting orchards into rows of vegetable gardens and a small vineyard. What inspires Limone's ever evolving menu are the natural flavours of what their vegetable garden provides, to which they have their sustainable farming practices to thank.
"We have just finished a six week season of our artichokes so on our dinner menu we showcased a pasta with artichokes which were the key ingredient," Mr Piccolo said.
"We change our menu depending on what's available out here and that's how we plan our menu because we have an idea of what we are growing."
Prioritising soil rejuvenation and biodiversity is at the forefront of how they farm - steering clear of industrial pesticides where possible and investing in a composting system that promotes the longevity of soil quality. What results, according to Mr Piccolo is food that is fresher, tastier and better for you and the planet.
"Apart from using a couple of organic sprays, we don't use any synthetic sprays we are trying to use nothing 'nasty' that could be harmful for the environment," Mr Piccolo said.
"It means that when we are actually using that food in the kitchen we don't have to do as much to it. People are surprised that we can serve really simple food with the flavour being incredible.
"By putting a little bit of effort into the ground, it actually makes our job in the kitchen a lot easier."
Limone is a long term project, not a 'get rich quick' gimmick. It will take time for the fruits of this family's hard work, patience and commitment to bear however, Mr Piccolo says that the pay off will be more than financial, ensuring the reciprocal relationship between farm and fork thrives in the face of so much future change.
"If we can farm this small space in a really sustainable way it not only benefits us, we can give back to the land, the soil and the environment," Mr Piccolo said.
"I think over time things will change and we are just a small part of that cycle, but what we are really proud of is that holistic approach."