I HAD hoped to be able to report on progress with the Tasmanian taste map project.
Unfortunately this is not possible but I really must learn to be less impatient – you would have thought that after about 50 years of dealing with a whole range of bureaucracies, I should have by now accepted the fact that “wheels turn slowly”.
After all, it’s only six months since I wrote in my column about the parsley flavour molecule 1,3,8 p – menthatriene and its potential to be used as a marker to use in generating a Tasmanian Taste Map based on latitude.
The initial response was very positive, particularly from Dr Sandra Garland, who routinely measures this molecule in the TIA laboratory for Essential Oils of Tasmania parsley oil quality control purposes.
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This was followed by equally positive responses from Guy Barnet, who is the State Minister for Primary Industries and Water, the “Taste of Tasmania “people, and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.
Then, of course, Christmas started to get in the way, but more to the point so did the bush fires which started in the Central Highlands but then erupted south of Hobart and are still burning.
This is where Dr Garland lives – protecting their house has a higher priority than costing out a project to look at the relationship between menthatriene levels in parsley and latitude.
This is a pity, albeit very understandable, because the TFGA has shown interest but obviously needs these costings before they commit to becoming a partner.
I’m having a dialogue with them on this and other matters, and have just begun one with the Department of State Growth, which is key to all this.
They have 10 ministerial portfolios to support, which must be a challenge and take up a lot of time – it took a while and two attempts to get a response. When it came, it was not very encouraging:
“Tasmania has several visitor trails themed around food and beverages, most commonly these are collaborations between producers and industry or local tourism bodies.”
“The Department of State Growth offers a range of support to Tasmanian businesses, however the Department does not currently have a funding program available to support research of this type.”
So where do we go from here? The most important point is that there has to be an “association” to carry this forward, rather than an individual and certainly not a journalist.
I say this because this will take time and resources. I have headed up a Government Department in a previous life but I’m now well retired and basically a one–man show.
This obviously means I have no one to delegate to – I have to do everything myself, and, much as I would like to, I can’t be in two places at once. It will be no surprise to you to read that in my opinion the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association is ideally suited to do this. I’ll keep you posted.
POSTSCRIPT: The bush fires have died down, Dr Garland is back in harness and will soon be able to give those costings to the TFGA.