Regional South Australia
Fee Range: E
Maggie Beer was originally a Sydney girl, having grown up in the western suburbs where her parents owned a manufacturing business. She left school at an early age, without a 'proper' education, and worked in a startling number of jobs before finding her niche.
Maggie & husband Colin Beer moved to South Australia's Barossa Valley in 1973 and began farming pheasants on their new property near Nuriootpa.
Colin was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study game bird breeding in Europe and America and following their return to the Barossa Valley they opened a farm shop to sell the game birds they were breeding.
This humble shop soon grew into the famed Pheasant Farm Restaurant. The establishment of the Pheasant Farm and restaurant marked the start of a career that now spans farming, export, food production, and food writing.
After 15 busy years they decided to close the restaurant in 1993 and focus on production of their expanding range of gourmet foods, starting with the signature Pheasant Farm pate, a favourite with restaurant regulars, and in growing demand from gourmet food outlets around the country.
In 1997 the then premier of South Australia, John Olson, opened Maggie's next major venture, an export kitchen in Tanunda. A state-of-the-art facility, the kitchen was purpose-built for the production of preservative-free gourmet foods for the national and international market.
The range of products soon expanded, and now numbers over twenty, including meat and vegetarian pates, olive oil, verjuice, preserves, condiments and desserts.
They now export to Japan, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US.
The pheasant farm was never far from Maggie and Colin's hearts however, and in 1999 they returned to both the site and the original concept of the farm shop, re-opening the premises as Maggie Beer's Farm Shop.