A Tasmanian farmer has earned a firm ticking-off from France after suggesting people could make their excess rhubarb into champagne.
Guy Robertson from Penguin, in the state’s north-west, has turned his business over to deliveries after losing all of almost his usual sales at traditional farmers’ markets and festivals, restaurants and in on-farm experiences overnight because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The first week was the sleepless week,” Mr Robertson said.
“Then we realised we could put everything online.”
The Mount Gnomon Farm website was born – and Mr Robertson is now busy selling meat, vegetables, and fruit online, as well as products from other local artisan producers.
But it was a post on social media that landed him in hot water with the French. He has been including in-season rhubarb in his produce boxes, and suggested anyone who had too much should treat themselves, as he had, by brewing some homemade rhubarb bubbly, which he termed champagne.
A couple of days later, he answered the phone to a French official.
“In the middle of deliveries I received a phone call from a gentleman in France with the threat of legal action about the farm’s production of rhubarb champagne,” Mr Robertson wrote in a Facebook post.
“I never thought that 10 litres of rhubarb cordial for our own consumption would be on the radar in France.”
Yesterday in the middle of deliveries I received a phone call from a gentleman in France with the threat of legal action about the farms production of rhubarb champagne. I never thought that 10 llitres of rhubarb cordial for our own consumption would be on the radar in France. Supposedly they got a tip off by someone French who follows the farms social media posts. He was happy that it wasn't being sold on our website and that if we ever go commercial to call it rhubarb sparkling. With France having it's fair share of viral issues it's good to know they have their priorities sorted and that a small batch of home brew is enough of an issue to warrant an educational phone call to the other side of the planet. He did make me laugh and he was impressed with our garden.
If you want to have a go at making your own non-alcoholic rhubarb champagne or should I say bubbles, Tasmania's own Sally Wise has a great recipe.