WHILE Rupanyup is known for its pulses, it could soon become well known for a sweeter reason.
Claire Morgan has started using Wimmera chickpeas to create brownies in the hopes of putting the town on the map.
Mrs Morgan and her husband moved to the town about nine years ago and bought a farm.
“The town needed a retail outlet, somewhere people could buy a gift, catch up with friends and a store that would bring people to town,” she said.
“I didn’t want to see another small town die.”
Mrs Morgan started Rupanyup Living, a store that sold giftware and food.
“Everyone got behind me and supported my small business,” she said.
“The community embraced it and it’s been going well.”
After five years running the shop, Mrs Morgan decided to branch out and do something different.
“I wanted to create a regional food that would promote Rupanyup,” she said.
“I wanted to use pulses, so I thought about using chickpea flour.”
She decided to make brownies using the flour.
“I wanted food that would created conversation and I wanted a product that I could follow the process of,” she said.
“We grow chickpeas, we harvest them and at the end of the line, I get to see customers enjoy them.”
Wimmera Grain Store mills chickpeas into flour and supplies it to Mrs Morgan.
She said she spent about six months playing around with the recipe before she perfected it.
She started selling chocolate chunk brownie mix about a year ago.
“Now that we are 12 months down the road, I’m seeing lots of customers come back,” she said.
“I get to hear their stories – from truck drivers who enjoy making them to people telling me cooking brownies is a great school holiday activities.”
The brownies are packed in Rupanyup and made with Wimmera chickpeas.
“I would like to have the chickpeas milled here one day too,” Mrs Morgan said.
In a few weeks, she will release two new favours – chocolate mint and vanilla bean.
Mrs Morgan said she wanted to educate people.
“It’s good to eat what you grow,” she said.
“Before I moved to the Wimmera, I didn’t know much about pulses at all – I grew up on a beef farm near Gippsland.”
Mrs Morgan said she was still learning the ropes of the food industry.
“I knew I had a good product and I hoped it would be well received,” she said.
“I wanted to highlight the use of chickpea flour too.”
Mrs Morgan said the mix was now sold at Cafe Chickpea in Horsham and Harvest at Halls Gap.