Our Stories

Culinary adventures in Kulin

Nestled in the main street of Kulin, a gorgeous bespoke café caters to the needs of locals, visitors and passersby.  Stocked with handmade artisan product and serving hot coffee and delicious wholesome, homemade café food, Acres of Taste is an experience not to be missed.

We spoke with owner, Amy Parnell, about her culinary adventures the town of Kulin…

Kulin is a progressive town, located in the Western Australian wheatbelt.  What brought you to the regional town of Kulin and how long have you been here?

I was living and working in Perth as an Intensive Care Nurse when life had other plans for me! I fell pregnant with my first child and moved to Kulin in June 2009 to set up our new family home. I grew up in the small wheatbelt town of Tincurrin, a mere 70km from Kulin, and the idea of moving back to the wheatbelt was never really on my radar. I told my partner, and my friends in Perth, that I was on a ‘2 year deal’ and after that time we would move back to Perth. My first child is now nearly 14 and I am still living in Kulin! There is something about this town and the community that just makes you want to stay.

Acres of Taste cafe serving up some wholesome, delicious goodies.

Acres of Taste is a gorgeous bespoke café, packed with artisan product.  What led to your amazing venture, Acres of Taste, coming to life and how long have you been in operation?

I love hearing how other people describe my café, and ‘gorgeous bespoke café’ is certainly one that resonates with what I wanted to create.

I missed aspects of Perth, especially having a favourite meeting place for delicious coffee, and overdue chats! I wanted to bring a little bit of what I missed from the city into the country. When new people enter the café doors and say, ‘what a little piece of paradise’ or ‘what a beautiful little hidden gem’, I feel like I have succeeded.

Acres of Taste evolved over many years. In 2013 it all started as a ‘side-hussle hobby’ after a Christmas baking stall at the Kulin Christmas Markets. I had a stall with a close friend, Megan. We arrived very late to the markets after underestimating the space and time required to load the back of the ute with our array of Christmas treats… however in the flurry and chaos, we had sold out before we even had time to unpack it onto the market stall table. We were literally a ‘car boot sale’!!  After the markets, we were approached by a staff member from the Kulin CRC to see if we would sell some of our wares at the CRC for passing travelers, as well as the Kulin locals. We both agreed to the gig thinking that it probably wouldn’t really take off, but we were quickly proven wrong! This slowly evolved into catering for small local events and then selling our gourmet sweet treats in our local IGA.

In 2015 Megan returned to her full time job and the ‘hobby’ for me had started to change direction. The idea of opening a café in town kept quietly, but persistently niggling away at me until it finally took over and began consuming my entire thought process.  After pursuing many different ideas and options, and with the help and support of some other fabulous community members, the opportunity to be part of redeveloping and fitting out the current café site became available to me. We officially opened in September 2019, just 5 days before the Kulin Bush Races, so it was sink or swim and we are still swimming!

On arriving at your Café, you can’t help but notice the main café colour is a gorgeous buttermilk lemon yellow.   What was the inspiration for your colour selection for the cafe?

To be completely honest, yellow has never really been my favourite colour, but when my designer, Daniela, another local superstar, showed me one of her design concepts in ‘buttermilk lemon yellow’ I instantly loved it and knew it was the colour I wanted for the café. The colour instantly made me think of all things lemon, sunshine and happiness. What more could you want really?

How do you decide on your menu?   Are there some family favourites, heirloom recipes, or CWA classics in the  mix?

The menu has changed and evolved over the years, but my main focus for my food has always been simple, wholesome, homemade and delicious!

I love a good salad and I am always on the lookout for new salad recipes to add to my repertoire.

My recipes come from far and wide and a lot of researching!! I have usually altered or tweaked them in some way to make them my own. An exception to this, is the unaltered melting moment recipe! This particular recipe was sourced a few decades ago by one of my  staff members. Without giving too much away, or throwing her straight under the bus, she had a client who used to make the biscuits for their local café (not Kulin, but another regional WA town!)

After attempting to gain the recipe on several occasions with no success, they finally ‘stole’ the recipe by saying that the melting moments were one of their sales reps favourite biscuits and they wanted to make him a batch for his next visit! The client apparently reluctantly passed the recipe on, on the provision that it was kept a secret!

I’m sure she will be very happy to know that although it has made its way through the regions, her recipe is still being used to make the best biscuits for the local café, and her recipe is still a secret!

Do you have a most popular menu item?

This could cause arguments amongst my regular customers as there are quite a few favourites.  I think topping the list would have to be the famous melting moments!

To confirm this, I consulted with my sales app! Coffee obviously tops the list, but melting moments are the next highest-ranking item. Nearly 7,000 of those little ‘lemon yellow’ coloured balls of delicious goodness have walked out of that beautiful yellow door since opening! The other top 5 are chocolate brownie, raspberry and white choc blondie, flourless chocolate cake, muffins and toasted turkish breads.

What do you love about doing what you do?

I love it when the cafe is a bustling hive of people and activity and all I can hear from behind the counter is a hum of chats and laughter.

What do you think having a café like Acres of Taste, in a regional town, brings to your community and the region?

I feel it is a meeting place that brings community connection.

People often feel alone and isolated, especially in regional towns. The café allows a space for people to just come and sit, and by doing so, other people will stop and connect, even if it is just a hello or a smile. It can change someone’s day.

We all also know; the world’s problems can be solved over a good cup of coffee and a piece of cake!

Are there any major challenges/advantages you face as a small business owner in regional WA?

I know it is more widespread than just regional WA, but rising living costs are certainly a concern and challenging for me as a small food service business.

Community support in small country towns is definitely a big advantage, I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

Staffing at times, especially school holidays and weekends can also be difficult, but I have beautiful, friendly and loyal staff who are not only my employees, but also my friends. I am grateful for that. 

Any big plans for the future?

As much as people from neighboring towns keep asking me if I am ready to franchise, this isn’t on my radar at the moment, however, nor was moving to Kulin! You just never know what the future holds sometimes!!

I am always on the lookout for new things to add and change, but for now I am happy with where I am and where the café is at.

Acres of Taste is located at 51 Johnston Street, Kulin, Western Australia.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/acresoftaste

Phone:  0499 920 002

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