STUDENTS from TAFE Illawarra Bega campus will try their hands as budding entrepreneurs as they sell their homemade sauces at the SCPA market in Bega’s Littleton Gardens today.
The students are undertaking a short course called Making a Buck from Beetroot, which had a successful debut last year when students sold a selection of citrus-inspired products at the South Coast Field Days in September.
This year’s students decided to concentrate on tomato-based sauces and, after testing several in the TAFE commercial kitchen, settled on a rustic pasta sauce and a flavoursome Indian curry sauce.
They sourced the tomatoes locally, cooked and bottled the sauces themselves, came up with a name – Bega Valley Saucery – and worked out a financial target for the project.
Proceeds from the sales will be donated to Bega community centre Ricky’s Place.
The students represent a variety of age groups and backgrounds, but are united in their enthusiasm to deliver a quality local product.
"It's encouraging to work with people who have a passion for local, sustainable food," course facilitator Vickie Goldsmith said.
Student Shylie Wilton of Jellat Jellat found the course both enlightening and rewarding.
“I came along with a lot of ideas,” she said.
“It’s given me a feel for what running my own local business will involve and I’m keen to learn more about sustainability and permaculture principles.
“Preparing the sauces in the commercial kitchen was great fun and we’ve had some interesting guest speakers giving us their insights.
“And I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fellow ‘beetrooters’!”
The aim of the Making a Buck from Beetroot course is to cover all aspects of establishing a sustainable food business.
This includes growing and preparing the food, food safety, business planning, marketing and selling the finished product, using as few resources as possible.
The course provides the students with a Certificate I – Access to Work and Training.
Making a Buck from Beetroot 2014 has been funded by Illawarra TAFE through the Bega campus general education faculty and Cooma campus outreach faculty.
Market organiser SCPA South East Producer is a partner in the program.
For information about future courses contact TAFE Illawarra Bega campus general education head teacher David Grainger on 6492 9741.