Andermel Marron, The Marron Café and Two Wheeler Creek Wines.
Andermel Pty Ltd was incorporated in 1997 with an initial thrust to establish a sizeable marron farm on Kangaroo Island based on the principal’s background in water treatment and an interest in both aquaculture and this boutique crustacean.
A visit to Western Australian Fisheries in 1996 and associated visits to one or two best practice WA farms laid the foundations to adopt their approach of purpose designed ponds, all netted against birds, with paddle wheels for aeration and using a manufactured pellet feed.
Once marron were being produced a processing shed was erected to wash, grade and hold harvested marron ready for market.
The lure of a vineyard did not take long to follow, spurred on by local vignerons, with initially 4.8 Ha (12 acres ) of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz planted in 1999. The Two Wheeler Creek wine label originated from the creek at the bottom of the vineyard which itself had been named a century ago when a surveyor’s two wheeled cart fell in during surveying of the area. A further 3.4 Ha (>8 acres) of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay followed in 2003 to provide a balance of red and white wines and to take advantage of the local cooler climate conditions ... In response to many requests for a slightly sweeter wine this has been produced / processed as either a blend of mainly chardonnay and sauvignon blanc or a straight sauvignon blanc. The selection of which depends on the available fruit at the time.
A ‘rustic’ cellar door was constructed in the marron holding shed and is fully licensed for wine tastings and take away bottle sales. The location in the shed works well as visitors experience both the marron and the wine in close environs.
In 2001/2 Andermel was the chosen Kangaroo Island site for a 3 year collaborative trial with the CSIRO Land and Water Division for evaluation of 9 native herb plants ( bush tucker ) to be grown in varying climatic conditions, mainly around SA. These included lemon myrtle, mountain pepper, a range of native citrus, lemon aspen, quandong, wattle seed, bush tomatoes, riberry and muntries.
The periodic strong winds on KI have been a problem but the lemon myrtle was a definite item of interest. New, more protected plantings in a shade house of lemon myrtle and a new variety aniseed myrtle have been successful. They have inspired the development of a commercial range of Bush Tucker sauces.
Even though marron were originally from Western Australia they are a Kangaroo Island icon and in their own right are the first element of interest to visitors. Then coupled with the ability to provide Two Wheeler Creek wine and bush tucker sauce tastings and sales at the cellar door there is the second element.Following discussion with Tourism Kangaroo Island and the Kangaroo Island Development Board there was the third element with strong support to establish an on farm Café. This would provide the unique 3 in 1 experience, not only for marron and wine but also to have a gastronomical delight at the west end of the Island where there was little else on offer to visitors or even locals.
In deciding to proceed, some grant aid was won from the South Australian Tourism Commission – Tourism Development Fund and the Australian Government – Australian Tourism Development Program. Construction commenced early 2006 with the Marron Café then opening late November 2006.
This is a brunch, lunch or afternoon tea venue due to the farm’s location in the middle of the Island and a very convenient stop over to or from Remarkable Rocks or the Western end of the Island. Some evening or night functions have been held and are most welcome but these are by arrangement and not part of the daily operating cycle.