'The smell is amazing': The beautiful wedding bouquet you can eat

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Bundaberg farmer Amanda Giles had no idea she was creating a new trend when she simply bunched some herbs together.

It had been a stressful start to the year for Ms Giles and her husband, Chris.

The couple’s herb farm supplies restaurants around Australia and with COVID-19 restrictions impacting upon the hospitality industry there were concerns it would severely affect demand for their herbs.

A bunch of herbs held by a person where you can't see their face.A bunch of herbs held by a person where you can't see their face.
Amanda Giles posted a photo of an edible bouquet on social media and orders have been rolling in since.(Supplied: Giles Herb Farm)

But when Ms Giles decided to share a photo of sage, parsley, thyme, chives, rosemary, oregano and mint bunched together, she had no idea the interest she would receive for the edible herb bouquet.

“I deliver herbs each Saturday into town and we would get the orders and wrap them as a small bouquet,” she said.

“We were speaking to a lady and she said she would like to try all our herbs, so we put them all in the same bouquet and wrapped them up and it became this giant herb bouquet.

“We took some photos, put them on Facebook and Instagram and people went crazy for it, and now it’s an everyday thing.”

A man holds a bunch of herbs at a farm.A man holds a bunch of herbs at a farm.
Chris Giles grew up farming sugar cane and small crops but has been farming herbs for around five years at a property north of Bundaberg.(ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos)

Ms Giles worked in the mining industry for 12 years before moving into herb farming around five years ago, her husband Chris grew up on a Childers sugar cane farm and also has a history in growing small crops. But it is herbs that the couple are passionate about.

‘Little piece of heaven’

The couple were married on the four-hectare former sugar cane farm they purchased three years ago and love the beauty of the rich red soil that helps them produce 120,000 individual herb plants each year.

It’s this love of the land and their herbs that Ms Giles tries to include in the herb bunches and she feels this could be why the community has embraced the new style of presentation.

“We do have our little piece of heaven,” she said.

“I got some photos back from a customer the other day and they spread it out through their kitchen for a dinner party, so everybody grabbed a herb and threw it in their dinner.

“And they actually bought three so they gave two as a gift, which I thought was just great, that they got to take something home.”

Rows of herbs growing in red soil at a farm north of Bundaberg.Rows of herbs growing in red soil at a farm north of Bundaberg.
The red soil and consistent Bundaberg weather make the region perfect for growing herbs.(ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos)

‘The smell is amazing’

With no background in floral arrangement Ms Giles achieves subtle colour in the herb bouquets and hopes the edible bouquets could one day be a hit for weddings.

“Winter tarragon has got the yellow in it and there are a couple of little flowers around our property I sneak in for a pop of colour,” she said.

“Thyme has a tinge of purple. They all help create it.

“And the smell is amazing, everyone who picks is wafting it in their face.”

With Australians discovering a love of cooking for themselves during isolation restrictions, Ms Giles feels demand will continue to rise for the farm’s edible bouquets.

The farm has received media attention and consumers have been sharing photos of herb breads, pastas, and soups with the couple.

A woman holds a bunch of herbs in a field.A woman holds a bunch of herbs in a field.
Bundaberg farmer Amanda Giles tries to capture the feeling of her farm in her edible bouquets.(ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos)