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Recently, I visited the Bull Creek property of Willunga Farmers Market stallholders Brendan Lineage & Courtney Stephen.

As I step out of my car, the natural beauty and the steep, steep hills are the first things I notice. It is also serenely silent. From my comfortable vantage point I hear cheerful voices as I stare out, up towards the magnificent, hill peaks.  Two figures, barely recognisable because of the distance to the top, let go of a huge roll of fallen pine needles from the pine tree forest, and I watch with amusement as it bumps and rolls its way to the bottom.

A pretty, trickling creek runs between the hills and winds its way along the new garden beds that are being prepared by Brendan and Courtney’s three young children. They’re busy laying newspaper for weed suppression, chatting with their Oma about how best to make a scarecrow, whose destiny it is to guard this garden.

Nearby is the shed that houses the impressive, purpose built kitchen and meticulous production facility for their business Sunshine Ice Blocks. “It was the people and the region that inspired us to buy the farm and to live here, and to trade and sell locally” Courtney explains.

Sunshine Ice Blocks produce a range of small batch, hand crafted ice blocks, gelati, sorbet and shaved ice, using all natural, fresh and seasonal produce direct from the farmer.  “We source all of our ingredients from the Willunga Farmers Market, even the milk, and only go further afield when necessary.” explains Brendan. “The local enthusiasm and passion for food is infectious. It really is important to us that we connect with the growers, know what’s in season, develop relationships and trial new products for instant feedback.”

“We both get very excited about every new product we bring out and we love experimenting.” Products are created to meet customer demand and offer an abundance of flavour combinations to suit any palate. Ice block flavours include lavender lemonade, blood orange and honey, rhubarb and pear, rhubarb and cream, chocolate and avocado. What’s comes next for summer? “Strawberry, peaches, nectarines, plums, the list explodes but the challenge, is to keep the flavour range manageable.” explains Brendan with a grin.

“A perfectly healthy summer treat that children love, is our shaved ice. It goes straight into a cup, then we pour our own, all natural syrup over the ice. Right now the flavour is strawberry.  There’s no crazy colours or chemicals and it’s dairy free.” Brendan says. “We also have blood orange, lemon and strawberry sorbet flavours on offer, all made from local produce.”

The new gelati is not to be missed either. Brendan is very pleased with his latest flavour combinations of dark Belgian chocolate, vanilla bean and cold brew coffee which has been through an eighteen-hour extraction technique, in collaboration with local barista Rebecca Moore (From Humble Grounds), who knows how “to get the coffee flavour perfect.”  The sample pots are delicious; smooth, wickedly creamy and full of flavour!

What’s next? “Growth!” says Courtney. “We were awarded a manufacturing and innovation grant by the SA Department of State Development which is great recognition of us as a viable business. We are being assisted with ways to improve production costs and efficiency. We’ve also recently received accreditation to the South Australian Dairy Board which has enabled us to expand our range to include gelati.”

Brendan and Courtney credit their success to the Fleurieu Peninsula, to which gives their family a better sense of community and a healthy combination of work and lifestyle. It’s no wonder they chose this stunning location.

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