Gourmet Farmer Series 4 - Director's Statement
Matthew Evans on Fat Pig Farm
Nothing sums up Gourmet Farmer better, than Matthew Evan’s final line in the opening title sequence of every series: “How hard can it be?” It’s a sentence that seems uniquely Australian and conjures elements of that old cliché “She’ll be right!” He sounds optimistic – even a tad idealistic - but Matthew delivers it with a certain hitch in his voice, that can’t quite hide his underlying terror.
This one sentence pretty much sums up the four series of Gourmet Farmer - five if you include the epic Gourmet Farmer Afloat. With very little knowledge of farming, Matthew left a life in the city about ten years ago to buy a farm in Southern Tasmania in order to grow and rear his own food. Viewers have been captivated and inspired by his bravery; in fact since the series started, property prices in this region of Southern Tasmania have increased dramatically.
Authenticity is what keeps viewers keep coming back. There is nothing confected about Gourmet Farmer, with cameras following Matthew around the farm as he embarks on new projects which are not always successful! This may seem overly simplistic, but it’s this vulnerability, and his occasional failures that set Gourmet Farmer apart from other programs in the same genre.
“How hard can it be?” also sums up the making of this series. When Matthew announced he wanted to build a farm-to-table restaurant on the farm, it was bleedingly obvious that this would be a fantastic basis for a fourth series. But as anyone who has ever embarked on a building project can attest, there will be delays. Unfortunately for us, we never envisioned quite how many!
Fat Pig Farm is located on a dirt track, leading up from the Huon River, about an hour south of Hobart. The gully faces southwest, and in winter there is a beautiful view over the snow-dusted Hartz mountain range, which is one of the few barriers between the farm and the southerly winds that blow there from the Antarctic. And then there’s the rain – an average of nearly 900mm a year! All of this is a convoluted way of saying - the building times blew out, and so did our shooting schedule.
This series has literally taken years to make, but thanks to the continued support of SBS, in particular Erik Dwyer and Nicki Roller we got there in the end. Our cinematographer Gilbert Farkas as always, has captured the farm beautifully, and Tasmanian sound recordist Tobi Armbruster doubles as kitchen-hand, time-keeper and Mr Fix-It. For all of us, this series has been a joy to make. Matthew and Sadie are extraordinarily generous with their time, inviting me, and therefore viewers, into their lives. The end result is a warm, intelligent, aspirational and authentic series that I hope viewers will get as much enjoyment from, as we had making it.
Director and Executive Producer - Gourmet Farmer Series 4