Set in the stunning NSW costal region of Central Tilba, the series gives a uniquely Australian twist to the British hit show, as a rundown property is transformed into a functioning farm.
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22 Jun 2017 - 12:21 PM  UPDATED 10 Dec 2017 - 12:24 PM

Follow chef turned rookie farmer Paul West as he cooks delicious food, lends a helping hand to the community and works to create a sustainable farm. 

How a rookie farmer learned to love the land
Food lovers, rejoice! River Cottage Australia is now on SBS. Paul West, the chef turned farmer, tells how he came to set up in "one of the most underrated places in Australia".

SEASON 3

Episode 1

Airs Thursday 14 December 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

In over a year Paul’s farm has grown from a hobby farm to a serious small holder but without proper infrastructure he needs a plan for the future. So with this in mind, he spends this season working out new ways to earn a keep - planting veggies and selling his pigs for profit.

Episode 2

Airs Monday 18 December 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

There’s trouble on Paul’s farm and his goats go missing. Plus he’s questioning Bessie’s future and needs to find out if she’s pregnant. It’s also time to turn the winter veggie patch into his first cash crop.

Episode 3

Airs Thursday 21 December 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

Tough times for Paul when he asks home butcher and friend Matt to help him slaughter his first goat. When Paul helps to rebuild a community garden the goat goes to a good cause.

Episode 4

Airs Monday 25 December 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

In an attempt to make a quicker profit Paul decides to add hens and honey to his farm – so he goes on a road trip to find out how. Digger proves he’s got the nose for truffle hunting.

Episode 5

Airs Thursday 28 December 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

Paul welcomes visitors to the farm. His dad arrives for the 1st time and they go on a camping trip to hunt feral deer. And the Latimer sisters, who grew up at the farm, come home for morning tea and give Paul a history lesson.

Episode 6

Airs Monday 1 January 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

Paul goes on a wild bee hunt and builds a hive for the farm. He also faces the hard task of taking his first pigs born and raised on the farm to the abattoir. 

Episode 7

Airs Monday 8 January 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

Paul learns about catching eels from Indigenous local and chef Noel Butler and sells his first eggs and veggie boxes into Tilba. Months of hard work pay off when Paul turns his own pigs into profit at the Eden Whale festival, but it’s not all-smooth sailing.

Episode 8

Airs Monday 15 January 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand

After months of training it’s time for Digger to shine at a local dog competition. To welcome the start of summer Paul hosts a cricket match at RCA and shares his produce with his friends. And his beloved cow Bessie finally gives birth.

A wet nose in the ear really helps when Paul's form isn't quite right.

SEASON 4

Episode 1

In the last year Paul’s family has grown and so he employs a local guy called Harrison as his part-time farm hand. With the fencing an ongoing issue for Paul he finds a way to change the face and shape of the farm. Paul has grand plans to take his food message on the road with a retrofitted Food Van but has he bitten off more than he can chew?

Episode 2

Paul’s spent the last few years planting and growing produce without a long-term plan so he gets important advice on how to transform the farm’s future. Digger is reunited with someone very special and Paul bravely takes his food truck for its first test run at the local farmers markets but he’s a little unprepared!

Episode 3

After ironing out some of the Food Van fumbles Paul decides to drive it over the mountains and into the “big smoke”. Not before stopping off for some trout fishing and learning they’re tough to tackle. In Canberra he’s overwhelmed by the urban growers he meets along the way and challenges the Food Van to its ultimate test – the taste buds of city slickers!

Episode 4 

While Paul is away Harrison is left to manage the farm and it’s not all plain sailing. There’s a sweet surprise ready for harvest that’s been brewing for over a year and Paul rises to the challenge at a community event that makes him sweat for his supper. Does he have what it takes to make the local footy team?

Episode 5

Using his experience in Canberra, Paul goes back on the road. His first stop is a tiny town of 20 called Morundah who’ve turned a local pest into a palatable bar snack. Paul heads to Griffith and Narrandera and meets up with inspirational farmers who’ve reinvented themselves to survive. Can the knowledge he’s gained apply to his own patch of paradise in Tilba?

Episode 6

Still in the Riverina, Paul visits a wheat-farming mate who has changed the future of his town with beer. He gets roped into a local footy match and random mascot race. And at the Wagga Wagga “eat local” farmers markets Paul uses the produce he’s gathered to create an afternoon tea that delights the shoppers.

Episode 7 

Back on the farm it’s time to make some much needed changes. Jean teaches Paul the forgotten skill of stone masonry. Digger brings joy to some people in need. And Darcy returns to solve a long time problem on the farm – but can they get the water from the dam to all the gardens and livestock using a little DIY?

Episode 8

Paul takes part in a species eradication program but it’s not your average day out weeding - this method goes to new heights. As a way of celebrating the talent, artists and producers in the area, Paul hosts a huge field day on the farm. Paul proves he’s not afraid to strip down for fashion before wowing the crowd with a special tribute that sums up his last three years in Tilba. 

 

SEASON 2

Episode 1

Airs Thursday 9 November 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Time has passed and the seasons have changed at River Cottage Australia. Paul West is about to experience his first summer on the land. Will he have enough water, food and produce to keep the farm thriving throughout the dryer months?

More than ever he’ll need to rely on the expertise of friends and neighbors to help him expand the farm. He has got big plans to increase his livestock and has his sights set on impregnating some of the farm animals but as Paul quickly learns you can’t control nature. And that includes his beloved best friend Digger, who has grown from a playful pup to a rebellious teenager. To continue to live on the farm with Paul Digger will need discipline.

Episode 2

Airs Monday 13 November 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

In the first series Paul learnt how to be a dairy farmer the hard way. It’s time for Paul to make another tough lesson. How will he cope saying goodbye to another farm favourite?

Meanwhile, Paul plans to increase the livestock continue and he becomes a mother hen to fifty baby birds. At the same time he’s got to find ways to earn an income so goes to the farmers market for the first time. Will the punters go for his homegrown grub?

Episode 3

Airs Thursday 16 November 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Paul gets some goats but the going gets gruff when he tries to milk them for the first time. His cheese making skills get challenge by local friend Erica when they enter into the secret world of cheese making.

The big event of the month, the Bega Show, is just around the corner and Paul is relying on his friend Tabitha to give him some tips for his showgirl hens but are they going to be up to scratch? And could Ron the Rooster be a suitable replacement?

Episode 4

Airs Monday 20 November 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Farm life is not easy! Paul has always known this but when he’s faced with a tough task his experiences and lessons from last season prove very useful.

The CWA ladies come to River Cottage seeking Paul’s skills and help with an important charity event. Will Paul come up with the goods for this catering challenge?

He also faces another big hurdle when his bumper cash crop is in the red! Paul needs to take action in hope he can turn this deficit into dollars for the farm.

New friendships are formed when Paul gets expert help to a brand new oven at River Cottage – the start of many new builds to come.

How to build a simple DIY wood-fired oven
River Cottage Australia's Paul West shares how to make your own bread and pizza oven.

Episode 5

Airs Thursday 23 November 8:35pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Paul’s pasture poultry have all grown up and it’s processing time. Chris Franks is back to share his knowledge and wisdom.

Another River Cottage favourite returns - Iain Hamilton gives Paul a hand building a special BBQ grill. He takes the grill to the annual Bermagui Seaside Fair and hosts his second stall - it’s full of surprises.

Paul joins a brotherhood of brewing buddies in Candelo for a night of homebrew and beats. Before retiring to his homemade hot tub bearing all against the backdrop of the bush.

Episode 6

Airs Monday 26 November 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Paul welcomes home his jersey cow Bessie but it’s not the homecoming he was hoping for. Bessie could be barren so the local vet makes a house call.

Tomato season has sprung and Paul needs to make the most of his troubled crop. He welcomes two new friends to the farm with expert Passata knowledge passed down by generations.

He learns there’s more to mushrooms than meets the eye; and takes advantage of the autumn rain by dropping into mate Darcy’s to dunk some traps into his dam. 

Episode 7

Airs Monday 4 December 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Living so close to the coast has many advantages. Paul learns how to forage for seaside food from a friend but it’s not for free and he faces a chef style challenge.

As a valuable member of the community Paul is put to task when he helps out the largest fire service in the world, the RFS.

Paul welcomes a special lady on the farm – his mum Cath West comes to River Cottage and lends her green thumb in a working bee for cute kindergarten kids.

Episode 8

Airs Monday 11 December 7:30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

It’s Paul’s first summer on the farm and he eagerly waits for his sows Dolly & Pinky to give birth.

This year the bar is being set even higher for the final feast at River Cottage and the net cast even more closely.

Paul sets himself a challenge to create a long lunch menu only using produce sourced within sight of Mount Gulaga – his Gulaga Gathering. It’s a luscious celebration of the best seasonal produce Paul can forage, harvest & gather.

But he’ll need the expertise of local chefs & friends to help him prepare a four-course menu – will they be able to satisfy 30 hungry guests?

And Paul’s farming dreams come true when he welcomes new babies but will he be up for the challenges ahead?

Watch River Cottage Australia Thursdays 8.35pm and Mondays 7.30pm from October 5, or if you miss an episode, catch up on SBS On Demand.

SEASON 1

Episode 1 

Airs Thursday 5 October 8.35pm, then on SBS On Demand.

Fifteen years after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall moved into the first River Cottage in the UK, he’s headed to Australia to spread the message of sustainability – and to anoint an Aussie worthy of carrying on the River Cottage tradition. That job goes to former Tasmanian chef Paul West, who’ll set up River Cottage Australia on the picturesque NSW Far South Coast – with a little help from Hugh!

In this first episode the pair will face uniquely Australian challenges and characters as they make plans for growing produce, raising livestock - and becoming part of the local community.

Paul and Hugh go fishing for fresh octopus

They’ll restore the farm’s old chicken coop and welcome their first pair or chickens -  meet a local vegetable grower who introduces them to the delights of camel poo - hunt for octopus on one of the state’s most beautiful coastal lakes - and join members of the local indigenous community as they climb a sacred mountain to learn the secrets of bush tucker, and hear their powerful Dreamtime stories.

To top it off, Hugh and Paul will cook up the best local and seasonal produce they can find, and share it with those who’ve already begun helping them on their journey towards a sustainable way of life.

Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Pan-fried mushrooms with red wine and thyme

Pan-fried mushrooms in red wine

Episode 2 

Airs Monday 9 October 7.30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

With Hugh back in the UK, Paul finds himself alone at River Cottage Australia – but not for long. He’s about to welcome a new best friend to the farm – Digger the border collie pup.

Digger’s Diary: This is when I arrived to oversee the farm!
River Cottage Australia's star dog, Digger, recalls his first days on the farm.

With his new mate nipping at his heels, Paul sets about getting his winter vegetable crop fed – and that involves an organic fertiliser recipe that makes use of some of the farm’s most unwanted products.

It’s Festival time in the local village of Central Tilba, and Paul’s keen to make an impression with his cooking skills. But will his home-made relish - using locally gathered produce – cut it with the locals?

Further afield with the help of local hunters, Paul discovers how a notorious pest can be turned into a delicious meal. And he welcomes his first dairy cow to River Cottage. But will he ever learn how to milk it?

Exclusive recipe from Paul West - great with snags! Quince chutney

Quince chutney

Episode 3

Airs Thursday 12 October 8.35pm, then on SBS On Demand.

With his cows, chooks and veges thriving, Paul decides it’s time to explore the nearby coastline – and he discovers an abundant source of seafood delicacies. He meets a local lobster expert, and together they catch a crayfish brunch – and Paul introduces him to a deliciously different way of eating them.

Back on the farm, Paul’s busy building a pig pen, before taking delivery of a small herd that will hopefully one day feed him. Before that, he prepares a pork dish using one of the tastiest and most under-used parts of the animal.

Paul's farm population grows with a delivery of some pigs

Then, it’s off to the local harvest festival bake-off! With the help of a country cooking champion, Paul enters his pumpkin scones into the hard-fought contest. But will his entries rise to the occasion?

Exclusive recipes from Paul West - Paul's no-fuss scones and blackberry jam

Episode 4

Airs Monday 16 October 7.30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

With a malfunctioning water tank, and no dams to rely on, Paul is suddenly faced with a farmer’s worst fear – a critical shortage of water. His cows, pigs and veges all depend on a steady supply, so Paul enlists the help of a local farmer to see if they can tap on old spring on the property. But will it be enough to save the farm?

Meanwhile, as Paul settles into his new rural community, he discovers one of the joys of country life – the local food swap.  Armed with seafood he’s foraged nearby, Paul scores a boxful of unusual fruits, vegetables and wild game, which he uses to create a hearty winter meal.

NOTE: A gripping new SBS drama, Sunshine, kicks off on Wednesday October 18 and continues Thursday October 19, Wednesday 25 October and Thursday 26 October, so River Cottage will run on Monday nights only for those two weeks. 

Episode 5

Airs Monday 23 October 8.35pm, then on SBS On Demand.

Paul’s dream is to one day make River Cottage Australia self-sufficient – and he’s well on the way. With his own herbs, vegetables, eggs and cream - from Bessie the cow - he whips up his first ever “all from the farm” meal.

But not all is going so well. Flies are a constant issue – especially in Paul’s country kitchen. So he meets a local sustainable farmer who introduces him to an ingenious all-natural solution.

When you go visiting, take cake! Paul's chai teacake with cinnamon dusting

Down by the coast, it’s Oyster Festival time. Paul tries his hand at the oyster shucking contest – and then creates a traditional coastal favourite  -  a delicious oyster pie. 

Episode 6

Airs Monday 30 October 7.30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

Paul West is keen to restore the gully which acts as a natural watercourse on his farm – but it’s almost totally overgrown with blackberries. Paul learns he can hire a herd of hefty eaters to deal with the problem – but will they have the appetite for such a massive job?

Meanwhile, Paul hatches a plan to create new life at River Cottage with the help of Ron - his brand new rooster. At the same time, he has a tough task to perform – Big Boy the pig is ready for the butcher, but is Paul?

Episode 7

Airs Thursday 2 November 8.35pm, then on SBS On Demand.

The local CWA ladies have a big job for Paul – and there might be a sweet reward in return. If he can help them paint their headquarters, they’ve offered to share some of their cake–making secrets with him. How will his Hazelnut Loaf cake stand up against some of the finest in the district?

Back on the farm, Paul’s been collecting old chook feathers - but what on earth for? Could there be something fishy going on?

And as we head to the coast nearby, Paul learns that there’s more to seaweed than meets the eye. Not only is it good for the garden, he has an idea for a crispy new recipe.

Exclusive recipes from Paul West: seaweed pickle

Fruits of their labour - fresh milk from Bessie, as Hugh returns to Tilba Tilba

Episode 8

Airs Monday 6 November 7.30pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand.

It’s been nearly four months since Hugh returned to River Cottage in the UK to let Paul to go it alone. But now he’s back to check the progress at River Cottage Australia - and try his hand at milking Bessie. Luckily, timing for Hugh’s visit couldn’t be better, as the cycle of life continues and new life is hatched. Paul makes Hugh a cheesy breakfast.

Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Cheese toastie

Paul West's mushroom cheese toastie

Hugh's amazed at what he finds. Where there used to be rundown enclosures and sheds, there are now homes for chickens, ducks, pigs and a dairy cow. The vegetable beds they laid out together are now a mass of leafy winter greens, and the citrus grove is thriving. They decide to harvest what they can as starting point for a huge community cook-up they’ve got planned.

But they’ll need more food to feed the hungry throng. At the beach, Paul instructs Hugh in the fine art of beach-worm catching – but will they be able to catch the bait, let alone enough fish for a feed?

Enjoying the best that the region has to offer, as Hugh and Paul gather oysters

 

Paul’s first season on the farm is coming  to a close. But it hasn’t happened without help. To thank everyone who helped in the journey of transforming a rundown property into a functioning farm, Paul and Hugh invite guests from the local community to share in the fruits of their labour – and to celebrate as a likeminded community.

A paella is perfect for feeding a crowd! Try Paul's paella with chorizo and peas