I am a chief writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, published poet and Editor of poetry magazine ‘Fruit Salad’ (on hold). I also write children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
The pain and the gain
Murphys Creek Chilli Festival 2016 raising flood relief for Tasmania.
The inaugural Murphys Creek Chilli Festival drew a big crowd and the mood was lively with people jigging to the rock music, but it wasn't because their 'seat was on fire'. Seatonfire Chilli owned by Jason O'Connor, were a major part of the organisation for the event. All their chillies are hot and a big favourite is their Chilli Chocolate. Their products are refined and elegant with Chilli, Lime & Ginger Marmalade being my favourite.
Master of Ceremonies, Dom Weir, explained that the inspiration for the event was that Queensland had no chilli festival. Well, it does now and it was arguably the most exciting event in the region this year. Chillis are planted in spring, so the event was held in spring. Jason and Dom organised the event in a mere four months; a feat that impressed Murphys Creek Mayor Tanya Milligan of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council. Tanya gave the opening talk and drew the first raffle. The festival was a free charity event for Murphy's Creek Rotary to raise flood relief for Tasmania. In 2011 the Tasmanian Rotary gave $980,000 to Murphy's Creek for flood relief which contributed to building the Murphys Creek Community Centre. The amount raised so far is over $2000 and the festival was a raging success.
L-R: Murphys Creek's lovely Mayor Tanya Milligan; Comedy Magician Pete Booth; and Scurvy Dog girls getting into the spirit.
Red hair, red clothes, red chillies everywhere. Some of the stalls were from the Gold Coast and Brisbane as well as local. Prudence's Pantry had tasting with chilli jam and lemongrass, a mild tongue tingler with a hint of sweet and Tijuana Tears Hot Sauce, a sharp blend of garlic, lime, ginger, habeneros, red chillies and tomatoes. Bunny Connellen had olive tasting to sooth the tongue. Their Vaxtkraft Seeds are a veggie concentrate or marinade. The Chilli Addiction, Chinchilli's Chilli, Mr Organic and Your Local Chilli Dealer got into the chilli tasting spirit and attracted big queues. Cobra Chilli: Face the Fury, offered a puckered mouth for the additional benefits of making you happier, burning fat, reducing fear and as an elephant repellent.
Top up your java mojo with chilli hot chocolate, chilli mocha and chilli muffins for 'smoko'. Loaded slushies and drinks by Scurvy Dog, The Drink with Bite, refreshed in Lime Chilli Soda, Marguerita or Caribbean Dream. The bar opened at 11am; proceeds to the flood relief.
UB's Farm with their award winning heirloom products presented the slogan Smell the Dirt of the Lockyer Valley which was apt out in the gorgeous bush surrounds. Fresh air and fresh produce including heirloom Gramma Pumpkins, super food wheat grass, kale, coriander, organic Dutch Cream Potatoes, capsicums and cucumbers.
Chilli Chocolate Challenge
The festival's main event was the Chilli Chocolate Eating Contest which drew eight contestants. Each round built up the heat. The final three contestants got down to how fast they could finish off the chilli. The winner was young local Kacey Groundwater who said the secret of her success was to keep eating so that she 'didn't feel the pain'.
Channel 7 covered the event with Natalia Gradwell. Watch their news item including the Chilli Chocolate Eating Contest.
Regular lunch fare included wood-fired pizza by Flaming Good, Turkish and Chinese food. Swap your Murphys Creek Chilli Festival card for a free chilli chocolate truffle that will bring tears to your eyes. Raffles were drawn throughout the day for hampers full of hot and sweet jam, peanuts, pineapples, chilli jam, local produce, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, tangy beetroot relish etc. Rock climbing, horse and buggy rides and a red dragon jumping castle added to the family fun. One of the talks was by the QFRS Rural Fire Brigade who also had a mini fire engine ride.
Bauer's Organic Farm certify eighty percent of all organic retailers. The Lockyer Valley farmers tend the soil by not using chemicals in fungicides and fertilisers. Instead, they add nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil. Plants bearing nitrogen nodules are planted throughout the farm. Nitrogen is taken from the air and goes into the soil. The leaves and branches also fall into the ground as mulch which microbes like worms eat and they help by aerating the soil. Big companies are price-driven and use chemicals. The soil then becomes hard and has no nutrients and bee numbers are also depleted. Organic farming is sustainable.
At the University of Southern Queensland research is underway within the Institute for Agriculture and Environment (Research) to find the benefits of different foods and raise awareness on obesity, healthy foods, heart disease, liver disease and diabetes. We think of chillies as causing pain, irritation and burning, but chemists actually sell patches of the chilli molecule capsaicin, for pain relief. Australia began to use chilli for pain relief in the late 19th century. Some of the benefits of chilli are: increase digestion and bowel cleansing, cardiovascular and blood pressure balance, restore sugar balance, preventive for heart disease and obesity.
Don't Miss Next Year's Event
Murphys Creek Chilli Festival will be back on 15 October 2017. Sample the flavour and fire and take the chilli chocolate challenge if you dare, at Queensland's biggest chilli festival, only fifteen minutes drive from Toowoomba. Keep an eye on their Facebook page.
Murphys Creek Community Centre, the fruit of flood relief fundraising by the Tasmanian Rotary.