The farm behind new Queensland agritourism event venue

In Attractions, Australian Domestic Tourism, Featured Home Page News, Queensland
the rosella farm

Australia’s jam queen Cecilia “CC” Diaz-Petersen’s farm has a new addition that will allow her family’s agritourism business to expand in the tiny town of Woolooga, northwest of Gympie in Queensland.

The new building includes a huge commercial kitchen, six times the size of the original, which has been delayed by the recent storms, and was tested at the seventh annual Rosella festival.

“We were producing out of that little kitchen 25,000 to 30,000 jars a year, handmade, hand-labelled. A little bit of me is in each jar,” Philippines-born Ms Diaz-Petersen said.

“All of a sudden, this dream of Greg and mine is here. I cooked in the new kitchen the other day and I was just dancing,” Ms Diaz-Petersen said.

“It was like an out-of-body experience because this is what dreams feel like when they come true.”

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from abc

Australia’s rosella jam cooking queen Cecilia “CC” Diaz-Petersen cut the red ribbon and jumped with excitement on the weekend as she left years of working in a cramped kitchen behind her.

Her farm’s new building will allow her family agritourism business to expand, providing employment to locals in the tiny town of Woolooga, north-west of Gympie in Queensland.

The cornerstone of the Petersen operation is rosellas — not the bird, but the flower — an old-fashioned favourite gaining a new following.

“All of a sudden, this dream of Greg and mine is here. I cooked in the new kitchen the other day and I was just dancing,” Ms Diaz-Petersen said.

A man with his back to the camera in a field with a row of people looking on.
Farmer Greg Petersen taking visitors on a field walk.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

CC’s Kitchen and Petersen’s Farm’s small crop business have survived flood, drought, fire, a hailstorm and the pandemic.

Through these natural disasters it took the couple six years to save to build the new premises.

“That shows that we really wanted this, and it really inspired us to get to here,” Ms Diaz-Petersen said.

Play Video. Duration: 12 minutes 29 seconds
Rosellas, an old-fashioned favourite back in favour.(Jennifer Nichols)

Delayed by months of wet weather, the new building — which includes a huge commercial kitchen, six times the size the original — was tested at the seventh annual Rosella festival.

Rows and rows of jars of jam and chutney and sauces
CC Diaz-Petersen makes a range of products from crops grown on their farm.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

Inspired by the wide range of crops she and her husband Greg farms, Ms Diaz makes 105 different jams, chutneys, pickles and sauces.

“We grow niche stuff. A lot of Asian food, probably 20—30 different crops to be able to feed all of the different people from around the world,” Mr Petersen said.

People seated in a marque watching a cooking demonstration.
A popular cooking demonstration at the field day.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The couple has built the business on the property that Mr Petersen’s parents Joe and Pat bought in 1980.

They have transformed into what is believed to be Australia’s largest rosella farm.

Farming dream realised

Now the couple have room to streamline operations, with a fridge, freezer, pantry and storage space as well as a shaded verandah and toilet for events and busloads of guests who enjoy food and field walks.

The Petersens form part of the international slow food movement and have been an inspiration to small-scale farmers including Jennifer Nini, who has been hard hit by three floods since she began growing and selling flowers commercially last year.

“CC and Petersen’s Farm were really helpful when we needed sunflowers and I couldn’t grow what I wanted to grow because we kept losing crops,” Ms Nini said.

A smiling flower farmer at her stall.
Flower farmer Jennifer Nini was one of the guest speakers.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The couple are keen to raise the profile of rosellas and plan to host school groups in the future.

“If we are to make our mark in this world the best way is to teach children how to farm and how to cook their food. That will be our legacy because Greg and I don’t have children, and this is the way we would like to give to the world.”

The brand new stainless steel kitchen.
The new kitchen is six times bigger.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

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