from the heart of Byron Bay
not a lot of healthy products
in the heart of Byron Bay, Bernadette and Peter Downes (pictured
above right) simultaneously operate
two complementary and very busy businesses: Fundamental Food Store, and the
Byron Organic Kitchen.
having worked in the industry for about 25 years, and for Fundamental Food Store
(known locally as "Fundies") for about 14 years in her capacity as a
herbalist and naturopath, Bernadette Downes - with husband Peter - took over
Fundies' franchised operation in Byron Bay, about two years ago.
is located right in the centre of downtown Byron Bay, next door to the Post
Office and the new Byron Bay Community Centre, and right opposite the Byron
A beautifully restored heritage building, it's the perfect site for a combination health food store and café, with tables and chairs spilling out onto the wooden verandahs and grass outside.
It's always crammed full of locals buying their favourite "good for you" products, and visitors and regulars alike pausing for some healthy refreshment.
Service for the Community
that 'healthy refreshment' is actually produced round the corner in the couple's
other business: Byron Organic Kitchen. This is really Peter's 'baby'. The
kitchen produces a range of organic, vegetarian, vegan, wheat-free or
gluten-free foods for a variety of outlets starting with Fundies and the
Kitchen's own bustling café, which adjoins Byron Central Apartments, one of
Byron Bay's many holiday apartments. (Of course the Kitchen produces the food for
all room service provided at Byron Central.)
possibly Byron's only organic catering service, the Organic Kitchen caters for
special events for organisations like Byron Bay Yoga Arts and the Byron Youth Activities Centre,
for restaurants such as that at the Crystal
Castle, a visitor magnet in the
Byron hinterland, and even for the health store in the neighbouring village of
produce for the Kitchen is sourced locally, with fresh, quality veggies coming
straight from the organic market gardens of ReGenesis in nearby Myocum, probably
a 15-minute drive away. Organic waste from the Kitchen is taken away by the
ReGenesis truck (itself powered by bio-diesel fuel) and returned to the market
gardens, where it's turned into compost that's applied to help their prolific
gardens grow so well.
the enterprising entrepreneurs, this year the couple has also taken on the
distribution for the NSW North Coast region of Ginger Nektar, with the thought
in mind of using its outlets to expand their catering business.
many years, caterer Peter Downes has been using Marigold Swiss Vegetable
Bouillon powder in just about all the hot foods he makes. Peter says he uses
Marigold because: "I like the flavour, and the clean ingredients".
likes it so much he's one of the country's top users, purchasing the economic
1kg caterers cans by the dozen!
use Marigold in the Vege Lasagne, in the casseroles, in soups of course",
he said. "I sprinkle it on the roast veges, and use it in the vege burgers
and protein patties. Bernie loves it in pumpkin soup. One of our kids even uses
it to make soup, adding some three minute noodles, having thrown away the
flavouring sachet and substituting Marigold instead."
adds: "There's not a lot of healthy products that taste as good as
Organic Kitchen Tel (02) 6685 7767