The Victorian Tourism Awards is an annual event held by the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) that recognises excellence and innovation within the tourism sector. Each year businesses from all over Victoria enter the awards in one of around 30 different categories that recognise different areas of the tourism industry. The business with the highest score in each category is awarded the prestigious Gold Winner trophy, a representative of their achievements and commitment to the standards the Victorian tourism industry.
Green Olive at Red Hill is proud to be the Gold Winner of the 2021 Victorian Tourism Awards for Excellence in Food Tourism! In addition to being the Gold Winner in 2021, we also won this award in 2014, 2015 and 2016, winning us the Hall of Fame Award for consecutive wins three years in a row. At the Australian Tourism Awards, we won Silver in 2014, Gold in 2015 and Silver again in 2016.
The Victorian Tourism Award for Excellence in Food Tourism is given to food tourism businesses who provide excellent experiences for their customers, pursue innovation and growth, and create a benchmark for the quality of tourism experiences in Victoria. We are so happy that we have been recognised for all that we have achieved during a difficult two years of trading and we aim to continue striving for excellence within our business.
Usually, the 2021 Tourism Awards are held annually, however the Awards were not held in 2020 due to the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on the tourism industry. This meant that for the 2021 Awards, businesses were encouraged to share their business innovations from the last two years, including periods in which businesses were affected by lockdowns. The focus of the 2021 Awards was business resilience and we were so happy to have the opportunity to share the many projects we worked on during 2020 and 2021.
Some of our key innovations included:
Hops Garden and Kelpie Brewing
During lockdown, we took the first steps in starting our own beer label, Kelpie Brewing. We planted five varieties of hops to use in the brewing process including Cascade, Chinook, Nugget, Victoria and Columbus. We installed 3-phase power to a shed that will be used as the main brewing area and purchased brewing equipment. We also began the process of making test brews to create a flavour profile that embodies the goodness of the farm. We are excited to continue working on this project so we can share it with you!
Bush Food Garden
Our Bush Food Garden project involved planting a variety of Indigenous plant species which we will eventually use in our food products and experiences. We commissioned a landscape architect to design the area and assist in choosing the plants in conjunction with our Farm Manager, chefs and Sue. Our Green Olive staff did all of the labouring to create raised mounds with good drainage.
In December 2019, we purchased a new composting machine called the enrich360. This machine recycles food waste into fertiliser, turning 350kg of food waste into 50kg of fertiliser per week. By using the enrich360, we are able to give nutrients back to the soil that are removed when produce is harvested, reducing the need for chemical fertilisers which have a large number of harmful environmental effects. Returning essential nutrients to the soil increases the quality of our produce, resulting in tastier, more nutritional food. Read more about how the enrich360 composter makes our business more sustainable in our blog post.
Virtual Farm Tour and QR codes
While customers weren’t able to visit the farm, we decided to develop a virtual tour of Green Olive at Red Hill so that visitors could view online from their homes. We wrote 46 blog posts about all of the different plants and animals found on the farm, with pictures, fun facts, recipes and videos for visitors to interact with. We turned our online virtual tour into an in-person walking tour in which visitors can follow a map and scan QR codes which take them to the blog posts we have written.
Thank you and congratulations to our amazing team whose passion and commitment help make Green Olive the unique farm experience that it is today. Thank you for all your work over the past two years which was essential to us winning our fourth Tourism Award. Thank you also to our fantastic customers who have showed us endless support during the pandemic. You are the reason we do what we do! We’d also like to celebrate and recognise all tourism businesses in Victoria for showing amazing resilience throughout these challenging times.
We are looking forward to meeting the Gold Winners from each state to celebrate tourism in Australia at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.