Touting local produce is all the rage in urban restaurants right now, but new Gladstone café Steam & Cedar is the real deal.
For owners Dan and Beth, using locally-grown fruits and vegetables and locally-made condiments is not a marketing ploy – it’s one of their main reasons for being.
“When we first opened, I went through the Macleay Valley Food Bowl list of producers and contacted everyone whose produce we thought we could use,” Dan says. “We want to be active participants in the local economy and to support local growers as much as we can.”
Steam & Cedar currently sources produce from Yarra Rocket Science, Dan’s father’s Bluegum Limes, Macleay Valley Options, Piper’s Creek Grove and the Gladstone Fruit & Vegetable shop. They also use Chai Time tea (made by Dan’s sister), Holy Goat coffee and all bakery products are made by Crusty’s bakery in Gladstone.
“We have a local’s first procurement policy,” Dan says. “If a customer has too much produce they bring it in and we give them store credit. Just today we’ve had neighbours bring in bags of oranges and starfruit.”
Located at the Gladstone Hub (you can’t miss the bright red house across from the hotel), Steam & Cedar also provides a commercial kitchen facility for local gardeners who want to create something with their backyard produce.
“We’ve just had a lady come in from down the road with a heap of grammas and she used our kitchen to make gramma pies, which we then sell for her,” Dan says. “We love collaborating with locals.”
When he’s not at the café, Dan works in the renewable energy industry developing large scale solar and wind farms and working on home solar design and installation. His environmental values are evident in the way Steam & Cedar processes waste.
“We do everything we can to reduce packaging – from making our own coconut and almond milk to mulching takeaway cups and plates,” Dan says. “All waste is turned into soil that feeds our garden.”
Like all good cafes, Steam & Cedar has become a meeting place for Gladstone locals, who come for Dan’s artisan coffees (infused with local lemon myrtle or spices from the wholefoods store next door), or to enjoy a lunch break in the sunny yard. After savouring a platter of pumpkin soup, spinach pie and fresh green salad – all grown nearby, it’s easy to see why people keep coming back for more.
“For us, community comes first,” Dan says. “We don’t want to grow bigger, we just want to stay happy, connected and part of the village.”
Steam & Cedar is open from 7am – 2pm Wednesday – Sunday.