“The quality of what Bridget does at the Hamilton Hamper is so high and I am beyond proud and flattered to be part of that because I know that she works really hard on what she stocks” says Lana Campbell. “Honestly I am rapt to be involved with The Hamilton Hamper.”
Lana is the founder of ‘Lana's Garden - Rhubarb Condiments’ a small business in the Warrnambool region. As you may have gathered from the name, Lana’s Garden produces relishes, sauces and jams all handmade with rhubarb! But did you know all of her products are 100% natural, gluten free and extremely delicious. Thats right, you won’t find artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in any of these products.
As the saying goes, from little things, big things grow. From just two rhubarb plants came a much larger undertaking, featuring a substantial rhubarb growing operation. All condiments were originally produced from Lana's home and now she has a larger growing area and a commercial kitchen located in Warrnambool, Victoria. Lana drew on experience and shared knowledge from others in small business to kick start the business. At the centre of it all is a strong, resilient woman who is dedicated to not only producing high-quality products, but creating a work environment that at its core seeks to empower like-mined individuals. “I wanted to employ people who would struggle otherwise to find work because they may have been a bit older, or they may have had children that needed flexible hours” Lana says. “But that was also me, I needed work that wasn’t so rigid, that I wasn’t working for a huge company, that I wasn’t just a number or a worker. We’re all humans and we all need a bit of love, flexibility and understand” she explains.
But how did it all begin? “I wanted to create a business that allowed me to keep my relationships with my family, that allowed me to use my passion, which was food” says Lana. It began with an idea of creating a brand of condiments that were all red. However, when you have a schedule as busy as Lana’s, a garden will not wait. Other vegetables and plants would whither and die if left to themselves. Except, the trusty rhubarb, Lana explained that “it doesn’t matter what season it is, it isn’t bothered by the snails or the weather, rhubarb was there all the time.” This versatile red stalked vegetable is primarily seen as old fashioned, not to Lana, who took an educated punt, that has paid dividends. Lana cleared her garden and grew several rhubarb plants in her own backyard.
Yet, Lana’s choice was not all based on luck. “I grew up with my grandmothers rhubarb relish, so my research had already been done from a small child, through young adulthood and into motherhood” she says. “I knew that this one recipe [rhubarb relish] was what I needed to base my business around.” It was this combination of her grandmothers rhubarb relish recipe, a childhood spent on the farm and hospitably experience that have helped her small business proper into a quality Australian Food Manufacturer. Others in the family have Lana's grandmothers recipe and have commented that hers 'tastes is a little different' - Lana has added her own touch to the recipe. As they say it all comes down to the secret ingredient!
Eleven years on and Lana has created something exceptionally special. She has taken her heart and soul and poured it into a condiment bottle, ensuring each and ever customer takes home a little piece of her heart. From two plants to producing an average of 1200kg of product a month, Lana began her business in the hope of spending more time with her children. Now you will find her rhubarb coulis, relishes, jams and savoury sauces sold at farmers markets, online and at quality food merchants from Adelaide, South Australia to Mt Tamborine QLD.
So go on, take a sneak peak into the Rhubarb Lady of the South-West and grab yourself a jar of rhubarb deliciousness.
Who doesn't love Lamb Shanks... check out a recipe shared with us from Lana.