Pollies spice up Blokes on the BBQ

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May
9

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, Moree Mayor Katrina Humphries and defending BBQ King Greg Cumberland.

By Georgina Poole

Let’s see if their tongs are as quick as their tongues when local politicians Mark Coulton and Adam Marshall spice up the Blokes on the BBQ Competition at Moree on a Plate.

And while things get heated in the Parliamentary bear pit, and they’ve dealt with a few pork chops in their time, their policy on the competition seems a little weak.

State Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall concedes he’s probably better with a bureaucrat than a BBQ hotplate.

“I’ve cooked my share of chops in the backyard, but the ‘steaks’ will be higher than ever before.

“I’ve got no idea what I’m walking into – I think parliament is even easier to predict!”

He admitted he would be playing it safe this year, choosing simple meats that he could cook well.

Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said he was looking forward to the challenge of the barbecue grill.

Conceding that the art of cooking was still a mysterious process, Mr Coulton is planning a feasibility study in the most suitable method of turning raw protein into a delicious and tasty meal.

“Adam and I will be looking forward to an entertaining and enjoyable day at the cook-off,” he said.

Well versed in giving our pollies a grilling, local Mayor Katrina Humphries will be one of the judges of this year’s event.

“I’ve worked over the hotplate at my business Fishabout for a very long time now so I know all the tricks of the trade – but a little tip for the day – I hate mushrooms!” Katrina hinted.

Greg Cumberland & Col Pring of WMG Agri services will see Greg return to the competition to defend his 2016 winning title. Other competitors include Paul Fisher and Rob, Sandy Cosh and Jared Snook, Drew Hawkins and Marco Cicchelli of Rabobank and Greg Bell and Mark Simpson from Gwydir Chiropractic

These local pairs will take to the tongs for a blazing BBQ showdown, with a few ingredient twists to spice up the competition.

Organiser Marianne Pollock said the competition has proved a fun and lighthearted drawcard for event, with each team to receive a cut of their choice from South Moree Butchery and Reados Butcher, pantry staples from Coles, and a mystery local ingredient allocated on the day.

“Last year this really kept the teams on their toes and certainly sorted out the men from the boys.”

Initially introduced to the Festival to get more men involved, Marianne said there was now a strong call for women to be involved also.

“Who knows, next year we could include some Girls on the Grill, then we’d really know who really is King, or Queen, of the Barbeque.

Teams will cook off for the crowds on Weber barbeques, with the winners receiving their own Weber Baby Q kindly donated by Mitre 10 Moree.

Quick-witted and sharp of tongue, popular local Anthony Diprose of Dipper’s Home Hardware will MC of the competition.

The Blokes on the BBQ competition, proudly supported by B&W Rural, will begin at 2.00pm during the festival.

For more information see www.moreeonaplate.com.au

Bethany steps up to the Plate

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May
3

Story and Photo Georgina Poole

Bethany Kelly has, literally, stepped up to the plate.
With the Moree on a Plate festival only weeks away, this marks her first as President of the event, a role she has described as challenging, by rewarding.

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Bethany Kelly, left, is congratulated by Mary-Kate McCormick

“It’s a big job but thankfully there is an amazing committee of people around me and together we seem to find our way each year!” She laughed.
The local school teacher and mother of three took over the role of President from Mary-Kate McCormick.
Mary-Kate, who had an extremely successful tenure of three years, stepped down from the committee upon the birth of her fourth baby late last year.
“I loved my time working on the committee, and while very sad to stand down, I was confident that the team was right to continue to grow and improve the event,” Mary-Kate explained.
Bethany conceded she had big shoes to fill and thanked Mary-Kate and all past and present committee members for their very generous efforts.
“It takes a lot of time and effort to organise something like Moree on a Plate, and while it can be at the expense of family or work time, it is definitely worth it when you pull off such a wonderful day out that the whole community can enjoy,’ Bethany said.
“We certainly feel grateful for living in such a great town and having the opportunity to give something back.”
With organisers putting the finishing touches on the day’s program, Bethany said their attention was now at attracting volunteers on the day.
“We always have a great roll up of people willing to help out so we’re asking those interested to contact us for a volunteer form.”
Volunteers are needed for Friday 12th late afternoon set up, during the festival, and festival pack up after 4pm on the 13th.
In particular Bethany said any men available for set up and pack up would be much appreciated.
“Most of the committee are women, and we can certainly hold our own, but sometimes a little extra muscle makes our job a bit easier!”

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Volunteerings on the day – a great way to get involved and meet new people

She also encouraged anyone interested in becoming part of the festival committee for 2018 to let them know.
“It really is a fun committee – it’s a great way to meet new people, becoming involved in the community and organise an event that is continuing to grow and evolve into one of NSW’s premier food and wine festivals.”
For more information on becoming a volunteer please email info@moreeonaplate.com.au or Ph 04002052

 



Moree’s original hipsters

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May
1

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Story and photos: Georgina Poole

Over 20 years ago – an era post paleo, but pre-paleo diet – Pallamallawa couple Rob and Susie Long were quietly nutting out ways to capitalise on their newly purchased parcel of land on the fertile banks of the Gwydir River.
While not vast enough for broad acre farming but boasting rich alluvial black soils, the intensive farming industry of pecans was calling.
“We had a young family and were both working so needed a realistic, reasonably low maintenance industry, and trees, being a permanent crop, really appealed to us,” Susie explained.
And if all else failed, she laughs, at least they would have a picturesque grove of stately deciduous trees to admire for decades to come.
Thankfully their venture proved a great success, and with the humble pecan today holding a cult status amongst the kale and quinoa of the superfood movement, Rob and Susie are, perhaps, Pallamallawa’s original hipsters.

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Susie’s hearty laugh quashes such suggestions, but she admits the pecan’s perfect health record played a large consideration behind their decision into production.
“Pecans are such a natural, healthy food and in recent years the clean eating and wholefood movement plus the swing against highly processed food has really reinforced the industry and been hugely advantageous.”
Their first orchard was planted in 2000 and included 700 trees of five mixed varieties, including the popular larger Pawnee Nut.
Establishing a pecan industry is not for the impatient, with trees requiring grafting and up to seven years to return a crop.
Susie explains that thanks to current technology, today pre-grafted trees are the norm, reducing crop times dramatically.
In 2012 the Long’s launched their commercial operation, Pally Pecans, to great applaud.
The Pally Pecan range includes raw kernels and flavoured kernels including Honey Roasted, Maple Cinnamon and Lime and Chilli.
“The range is based on personal choice and local demand, we really try to answer the local voice and these are definitely our most popular flavours.”
Pally Pecans has a strong local presence, widely stocked across the North West and via their Facebook site.
The Long’s also provide bulk nut and shell to Sydney’s Flemington Markets, and are proud of their boutique production that has evolved over the past 20 years.
“Harvest is a wonderful time and is fascinating to witness,” Susie explains.
“Around Easter time each year, with assistance from our friends at Stahmann Farms, three machines roll through, the first of which mechanically shakes the trees via a hydraulic arm that pulses so that the nuts drop.”
“The second machine sweeps and airbrushes the ground to rid the husks, leaves and twigs and push the nuts into windrows while the third machine is like a street sweeper, scooping up the pecans.”
The couple has also enjoyed a long association with Moree on a Plate Food and Wine Festival, and is thrilled to be one of many producers attending the 2017 event.
“Moree on a Plate is such a positive story for a regional town and an opportunity for residents to proudly support local producers and a social, family day out.”
After over ten years exhibiting at the event Susie said many are surprised to see orcharding enterprises in a region synonymous with grain and cotton production.
“Moree’s climate and soil is ideal for Pecan growing and it’s quite a water intensive crop which our valley is fortunate to handle.”
“We absolutely love being involved in Moree on a Plate and spreading the wonderful message behind our fresh, locally grown fare and it is truly a fantastic opportunity to celebrate being a member of such a great small community.”
For any producers interested in exhibiting at Moree on a Plate, there are still a limited number of sites available.
Moree on a Plate will be held Saturday, May 13, 2017 at The Moree Secondary College. For more information please see www.moreeonaplate.com.au

The Jitterbugs join Kids Korner

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April
4

jitterbugsWhether you’re big or small, there will be fun for all ages at this year’s Moree on a Plate.
A quality smorgasbord of local fare, live entertainment and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef, Lyndey Milan will ensure a feast for the senses, and there’s fun a-plenty for our littlest visitors also.
Moree on a Plate is thrilled to announce the inclusion of Sydney performance trio, The Jitterbugs, as the main attraction at the Moree on a Plate Kids Korner, kindly sponsored by Northern Slopes Landcare Association, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
During their live performance ‘The Jitterbugs Garden Live on Stage!’ characters bring the garden and its magical world of bugs to the stage for families of all ages.
Featuring Frankie the Spider, Jessie the Gorgeous Butterfly and Hug Bug the Sensational Lady Bug, The Jitterbugs, with their intimate relationship with the Earth, share culture and wisdom of the plants and animals, offering a new way of living that is bright and colorful for our future generations.
Moree on a Plate President, Bethany Kelly, said she was thrilled to welcome The Jitterbugs to the region for the first time, and said their singing, dancing performance, which includes original recorded music with live instruments, was sure to captivate.
“We are extremely grateful to Northern Slopes Landcare Association for the collaboration and can’t wait to see The Jitterbugs in action – it will be an educational, engaging, interactive performance, with children able to join in on instruments such as the djembe, guitar, flutes and harmonicas.”
Mrs Kelly said the Kids Korner was a wonderful feature of the event, with the Moree on a Plate $2 cover charge ensuring the day remained a genuine, affordable family outing.
She said there were still stalls available for local P&C’s, organisations or fund raising bodies to hold their own stalls in Kids Korner.
“Variety is the key, in the past we’ve had everything from cupcake decorating to DJ dance offs, so if your school or club is looking to raise some money in the name of children’s entertainment then please contact us via www.moreeonaplate.com.au as spaces are limited.
Moree on a Plate will be held Saturday, May 13, 2017 at The Moree Secondary College, with The Jitterbugs performing two shows at 11am and 1pm.jitterbugs

Moree plates up festival fun

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February
6

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Committed to showcasing the finest quality produce and entertainment from across the North West and beyond, Moree on a Plate Food and Wine Festival is one of the region’s most established and reputable festivals.

Last year the festival enjoyed a record number of stall holders and visitors, and the 2017 event, to be held the Mother’s Day weekend Saturday, May 13, shows no signs of slowing down.

In a major coup, the committee is thrilled to announce Australian food icon Lyndey Milan OAM as this year’s celebrity guest, an initiative reflective of the calibre of the festival.

A familiar face on television and in print, Lyndey has found great success via her nine best-selling cookbooks, eight TV series and influence as former Food Director of the iconic Australian Women’s Weekly.

Lyndey was the 2016 Moree Australia Day ambassador, and was determined to return for Moree on a Plate.

“I was so impressed by the friendliness of the people in the region, which is just as important as the quality of its produce – people make a region and I am delighted to be coming back.”

Moree on a Plate President, Bethany Kelly said she was delighted to have Lyndey participate in this year’s festival.

“During her eight years as co-host of Fresh with The Australian Women’s Weekly on the Nine Network Australia, she regularly hosted such visiting chefs as Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay so to have Lyndey come to our festival is extremely humbling.”

Her most recent TV series Lyndey Milan’s Summer Baking Secrets is currently airing on LifeStyle FOOD, having premiered on Channel 7 earlier this year. This was followed with the launch of the Lyndey Milan Baking range.

Moree on a Plate originated 13 years ago by a group of dedicated local volunteers aiming to showcase the wonderful array of produce on offer in the region.

From humble beginnings at the Moree Racecourse, the event and has quietly grown into one of the region’s, and now State’s, signature events.

“The Moree district has long been regarded as one of the world’s premier producers of grains and cotton, a number of evolving industries, such as oranges, pecans and olives, have also cemented their place on the table in recent years,” Bethany explained.

Likewise, across the region – from Roy’s fresh garlic in Tamworth to The Conscious Farmer organic beef on the Liverpool Plains – Moree on a Plate successfully attracts the top producers from across the North West and South East Queensland, providing them a comprehensive platform to showcase and promote themselves in a relaxed and social setting.

The Festival has continued to evolve over the past decade, with a dedicated ‘Kids Korner”, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and live musical entertainment adding to the relaxed festival setting.

“Moree on a Plate is so many things to so many people – it’s a farmers’ market, it’s a family day out, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing lunch in the Autumn sunshine and it’s a wonderful way to promote not only our marvellous producers but our lovely town of Moree.”

And with a $2 cover charge the committee is intent on ensuring the event is affordable and accessible for all.

“Increasingly we’re seeing more and more return visitors from across the region, from coastal areas and the ‘grey nomad’ community – Moree on a Plate has emerged as a tourist destination event, with the flow on effects for our town immense.”

Bethany also praised the local and surrounding community for its ongoing support of the festival, and said it was one of the most popular days on the Moree social calendar.

“It’s a wonderful day out for the whole family, the Moree May weather is generally stunning and it’s a beautiful opportunity to sit back, enjoy delicious food, live entertainment and relax with friends.”

Moree on a Plate will be held on Saturday, May 13 at The Moree Secondary College, Albert Street, Moree from 10am until 4pm. For further information for visitors or producers please see www.moreeonaplate.com.au

Moree on a Plate donates generously

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January
3

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For the parent’s of a sick child, overnight hospital stays are an experience generally fraught with angst.

But thanks to proceeds raised from popular local event, Moree on a Plate, families and carers of hospitalised young ones will now be able to rest a little easier during their stay at The Moree District Hospital.
This year the committee decided to use it’s funds to purchase a state of the art lounge chair for the Moree Children’s Ward, a chair that doubles as a fold out bed so visitors to the hospital can try and get some rest whilst staying on site and close to their loved ones.
Committee member Margi Kirkby first flagged the idea after her own grandson was admitted to a coastal hospital earlier in the year.
“It was just such a lifesaver for his mother that she was able to be with him up at the hospital, it was a very stressful time for all, as it is for any hospitalised child, and the customised chair was such an easy, practical piece of equipment that made a huge impact.’
While Moree on a Plate is a not-for-profit organisation, with all funds raised used to hold the event, each year generous local businesses donate to a major MOP raffle, of which the proceeds are donated back to the community.
Moree on a Plate President, Bethany Kelly, said she was extremely proud to see the funding donated to such a meaningful cause, and with three young children of her own, said anything to help parents’ or carers’ during hospital stays was worthwhile.
Acting Health Service Manager, Sandra Hollands, relayed how pleased Moree Hospital was to accept the donation.
“We are amazed by the continued generosity of the community towards our local health service. Donations allow our patients to have those extra items of comfort not usually available”.
The Moree on a Plate Committee is busily organising next year’s event and has secured an exciting national cooking icon, soon to be announced, lined up as celebrity chef.
Next year’s event will be held Saturday, May 13 at The Moree Secondary College. For further details seewww.moreeonaplate.com.au

Moree Plates Up Festival Fun

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August
7

From locally grown and freshly picked pecans to salted deep fried fetta balls, there was something to tantalise even theHenry Moses, Marion Grasby and Sam Kelly fussiest of taste buds at the recent Moree on a Plate Food and Wine Festival.
With record numbers through the gate and the largest number of exhibitors to date, the regional food fare proved once again why it is fast becoming one of the State’s premier festivals.
Held in the agricultural heartland of Moree in North West NSW, the event is now in it’s 12th year, and continuing to evolve and grow.
With the festival reliant solely on volunteers and largely on sponsorship from local businesses, it is a wonderful reflection the strength of community in this regional small town.
Over 3,500 visitors attended the 2016 Moree on a Plate, with celebrity chef Marion Grasby hosting a number of interactive demonstrations and wowing the crowd with her talents and friendly, gracious manner.
Almost 50 exhibitors from across the region ensured no one went home hungry and the relaxed, social day out – and perfect weather conditions proved the icing on the cake.
Families were also well catered for, with the ever popular Kids Korner a hit, featuring special performer ‘Bubble Muffin’ holding interactive and fun cooking demonstrations promoting the benefits of healthy eating.
President Mary-Kate McCormick said she was thrilled with the day and the opportunity Moree on a Plate presents, not only to showcase the vast array of fresh produce borne from the region, but also to provide the community with a fantastic social day out and opportunity to relax and catch up with friends.
“We’ve had much needed rain so wheat planting has started, and cotton picking is all but finished so the conditions were perfect for everyone to have a well deserved break and great day out sampling all the delicious food on offer in our region.”
Marion Grasby was also impressed with the event.
“I’ve been to many regional food festivals and I can honestly say this is one of the most professionally run, with a very high level of quality and a really fun committee, it was a pleasure to be involved and I’m so grateful to the committee for thinking of me!”
The Blokes on the BBQ Competition was again a hit, with local pairs battling the grill to take home the title.
Greg Cumberland and Darren Squires of ‘WMG Agri’ and ‘We Clean It’ took home the title with their secret local ingredient Maple mustard dressing from the Bare shelf pantry in Goondiwindi and Pork from South Moree Butchery.
The Thermodix, Henry Moses and Sam Kelly took home People’s Choice Award with their chicken from Reado’s Butchers and secret ingredient Gwydir Grove Olive Pate.
“Thanks to B&W Rural for sponsoring the event and to Mitre 10 Moree for donating Baby WeberQ’s to the winners, as always the competition was great fun and the perfect way to engage the blokes in the festival,” Mrs McCormick said.
Mrs McCormick also thanked the major sponsors of the day, Hill Fitzsimmons, whose team went above and beyond supporting the festival, and to all our wonderful sponsors, thankyou.”
2016 marks the year that Mary-Kate McCormick steps down as president, leaving behind a wonderful legacy of an event still growing into its potential, as a serious state-wide industry showcase and tourism event.
For a full photo documentary of the day please see our Facebook Site, Moree on a Plate and for further information see www.moreeonaplate.com.au
Henry Moses, Marion Grasby and Sam KellyClare Felton-Taylor

Amara Doyle and Karolina McGregor

Alyce Gregg and Sally Glynn

Bubble Muffin photo 2016 media

Bubble Muffin Kids Cooking Club joins Moree on a Plate

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April
28

Article taken from the Moree Champion

By Georgina Poole

Apr. 28, 2016, 11:40 a.m.

It’s not just the adult taste buds that will tantalised at the upcoming Moree on a Plate Food and Wine Festival, youngsters from across the district encouraged to come along and learn about fresh local produce and healthy food choices.

Ever popular Melbourne show, Bubble Muffin Kids Cooking Club, will return to Moree on a Plate for the third time, and will hold a number of interactive stage shows demonstrating the benefits of healthy food.

A national act, Bubble Muffin admits Moree on a Plate is one of its favourite events and love the opportunity to teach a new generation on the benefits of healthy eating and sensible food choices.

The genius behind Bubble Muffin is performance artist, Kevin Starow, who said this year’s performance would be a little different from previous, focussing on a Mexican theme.

‘My energetic and hands on acts ensures kids are totally engaged and excited, making healthy eating really fun,” Kevin said.

“This will be my third visit to Moree, I love the community and the festival.”

“I’ve had lunch in the olive groves, seen the cotton picking, swum in the artesian hot pools – I can’t wait to see what is next in store!”

And there will be plenty in store for the littlest members of the community, with a jam-packed Kids Korner sure to entertain.

Face painting, jumping castles, craft stations and muffin decorating are just some of the activities lined up, with the $2 donation entry fee ensuring an affordable and fun-filled day out for the whole family.

For more information see www.moreeonaplate.com.au

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Moree Plates up Festival Fun

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March
17

Article taken from the Moree Champion

By Georgina Poole

Mar. 17, 2016, 9:54 a.m.

MOREE may be miles from the bright lights of city restaurants, but when it comes to food miles, we’re acres ahead.

In May 2016 Moree on a Plate will again dish up a smorgasbord of local producers showcasing the wonderful fresh fare on offer in the North West.

And our local fare will take on an Asian flavour this year, with celebrity chef Marion Grasby a feature of the festival.

Moree on a Plate President, Mary-Kate McCormick said she was thrilled to be welcoming Marion to the region all the way from Bangkok.

“We live in such a diverse, global society which is reflected in the food we eat so it’s really exciting to have Marion share with us some of her creative flair with Asian flavours mixed with her penchant for classic European techniques.”

Marion, who rose to fame as a favourite on popular television program Masterchef, now has her own successful product line as well as two published cookbooks.

However Marion is no stranger to the Moree district.

“I had great friends from the area during my boarding school years in Brisbane – I even know where Garah is!”

“I’m super pumped to be heading to Moree on a Plate for a day of awesome food and entertainment. I’m looking forward to showcasing the fabulous produce from the North West while hosting some fun and interactive cooking demonstrations. I hope to see you there!”

“I can’t wait for a delicious day at Moree on a Plate! Great local producers, entertainment and food…what more could you ask for?!”

With the Moree district long regarded as one of the world’s premier producers of grains and cotton, a number of boutique industries, such as oranges and olives, have also cemented their place on the table in recent years.

Mrs McCormick said Moree was one of Australia’s top food bowls and there was a continually growing diversity of what’s on offer.

“It’s a very exciting time for producers and the community and the Moree on a Plate Food Festival is the perfect opportunity to showcase our produce in a relaxed, social environment.”

The day will be held on Mother’s Day eeekend, Saturday May 7 on the grounds on The Moree Secondary College.

Long Lunch Anna, Bremner & Kate Chat 2015

Second helping for Long Lunch

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August
13

Article taken from the Moree Champion

By Georgina Poole

Aug. 13, 2015, 7 a.m.

AFTER the chill of winter what better way to welcome spring then to bask in the sunshine over a long, relaxing lunch with friends.

The ‘Moree on a Plate Long Lunch’ has gained cult status across the region over the past three years and tickets will soon be available for the popular event.

To be held on Saturday, September 5 in the gardens of The Moree Plains Shire Gallery, the event complements the Moree on a Plate Festival held each May and aims to further promote the region’s produce. Narrabri’s Treen White of Relish Catering will deliver a five course menu showcasing mouth-watering fresh fare from across the region.

Live music from Moree band Hoi Polloi will also add to the relaxed atmosphere on the day.

Organiser Ros Van Dongen said the event was an opportunity for the community to come together in a relaxed, social atmosphere and enjoy a day out before the busy spring festive season inevitably kicks into gear.

“It’s also an opportunity to recognise and thank our generous sponsors and to further promote the fabulous variety of local produce on offer in the north west.

“From olive groves to pecan nut trees, our region is blessed with fertile soils and passionate producers and we are ideally placed as a leader on the regional fresh produce map.

“This event is an opportunity to celebrate our wonderful industry and aims to complement the annual Moree on a Plate Festival held each May.”

Held in the picturesque gardens of the Moree Plains Gallery, Ms Van Dongen said past Long Lunches had been hugely successful, with everyone enjoying the relaxed format.

Tickets to the event are now available and strictly limited so get in fast to avoid disappointment. Guests can purchase tickets at a cost of $80 from www.moreeonaplate.com.au, or in person at Webb and Boland, Moree.