The Field Guide to Victorian Produce - a new publication from The Locavore Edition, design by Matthew Angel

If you haven’t noticed, it’s all about FOOD this week on TDF (The Melbourne Food and Wine Fest has got us a little peckish) and so today it seemed the perfect time to share a wonderful and hyperlocal new publication – The Field Guide to Victorian Produce, published by new publishing imprint The Locavore Edition.

The Field Guide is Victoria’s first comprehensive guide to regional produce and the people that grow, make and sell it, region-by-region. It’s basically a beautifully designed and exhaustive round-up of the top foodie experiences and providers within Victoria.  So simple, yet completely GENIUS… how did this not exist before now?

This dense little pocket book punches well above it’s modest size – it features over 100 grower profiles, over 150 producer profiles, farm gates and farm stay info, interviews with many respected local chefs and foodies, contributions from leading local food writers, and a full rundown of farmers’ markets, festivals and other seasonal happenings throughout Victoria. Importantly, the Field Guide is also entirely editorially independent – ie no one pays for a mention.

Of course one of the standout features of the guide is it’s super slick design – the work of local graphic designer / art director Matthew Angel (great name!). Now based in Melbourne, Matthew originally grew up on a cattle farm in regional Victoria, and so was pretty excited by the opportunity to work on a project close to his heart. ‘We wanted everything to feel very hand-generated and crafted, with as much love put into the design as the growers put into their produce’ Matthew says.

The Field Guide to Victorian Produce - a new publication from The Locavore Edition, design by Matthew Angel

According to Matthew, the design of The Guide references various vintage guide books and ‘how to’ manuals.   One key priority, however, was ensuring the layout didn’t become too repetitive – i.e. just a directory of listing after listing. Therefore, rather than pinning everything back to a common theme, Matthew pulled disparate design elements together to create a happy hybrid of illustrations, typefaces, title pages and photography. He hopes readers will be able to the book at any point, and be presented with something different.

This Field Guide has been around 6 months in the making – after first commencing work on the project mid last year, it finally went to printers in December.  Locavore purists will also be pleased to know it’s not just the produce that’s local – the Field Guide was printed by Ellikon in Fitzroy, with Tasmanian paper from Spicers.  The print edition costs $48.00 and will be updated annually – meanwhile The Locavore Edition website is an INCREDIBLE year-round resource well worth bookmarking!

Pssst. If you’re an astute lover of local design this little tome might remind you a little of the highly successful Melbourne and Sydney Design Guides – no coincidence there, The Guide is edited by multidisciplinary local creative Ewan McEoin, Founder of The Locavore Edition, and one half of the team that produced the Melbourne and Sydney Design Guides in 2009/10.