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Based in Inverloch, Felicity O’Dea and Tony Richardson know exactly how to create organic bone broth powders to nourish your soul.

Sep 29, 2022

Words: Gippslandia

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Have you craved hearty food this winter? Huddling up with a steaming bowl of nourishing goodness, the kind of fare that feeds the soul.

Tonemade’s Felicity O’Dea knows exactly what we’re talking about. Based in Inverloch, Tonemade create nutrient dense, organic bone broth powders that will fulfill the old and oft-quoted South American proverb, ‘A good broth will resurrect the dead’.

Felicity’s partner in life and in business, Tony Richardson, wasn’t dead (thank goodness!), but he wasn’t feeling great, and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that reduces the thyroid’s ability to make hormones.

Tony has enjoyed a rewarding 30+ year career in food, from beginnings in the Barossa Valley to Europe and back to Sydney where he met Felicity, and now back to Felicity’s Gippsland roots.

Given Tony’s background as a passionate chef, and Felicity’s in biomedical science and yoga, it seems obvious that the couple would turn to the healing properties of food. Tony has been making traditional broths for over twenty years, so, with inquisitive minds, they researched bone broths further, learning the importance of our gut health and links between the gut and the brain.

Felicity says that, “Dietary inclusion of bone broth not only helped Tony’s recovery from, and the management of, his autoimmune condition, but has helped me considerably too. It continues to be a dietary staple that supports our family’s wellness”.

“It’s this long, slow simmering process that creates the nutrient density and healing properties of bone broth..."

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“Firstly, don’t be put off by the name – bone broth doesn’t actually contain bones! Simply put, bone broth is created by simmering bones and marrow in water. As the bones cook in water, minerals, nutrients and healing compounds leach from the bones into the water,” Felicity shares.

She adds, “The important difference between bone broth and stock is that the latter is generally simmered for shorter periods of time (2–12 hours). In comparison, bone broth contains a higher proportion of marrow bones, tendons and ligaments and is simmered for a period of at least 24 hours (chicken) and 48 hours (beef).”

The 48-hour simmer time is the longest duration for bone broth products in the market.

Felicity continues, “It’s this long, slow simmering process that creates the nutrient density and healing properties of bone broth. The collagen of the bones, ligaments and cartilage is broken down to form gelatin and it is this gelatin that confers many of the health benefits of bone broth.

“Bone broth also provides essential minerals, including electrolytes, in forms that are easily absorbed: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals that are all important for supporting healthy circulation, neural functioning and digestion. Glycosaminoglycans are also important nutritional compounds found in bone broth. These play primary roles in maintaining the integrity of cartilage, collagen and elastin throughout the body.”

When Felicity and Tony initially began using bone broth, they found that managing the fresh liquid had some limitations, hence why they dehydrate the hearty liquid to create their bone broth powders. The dehydration process occurs over long periods of time (20 hours) at a low temperature (62°C), with no impact on the nutrient quality of the organic bone broth liquid. The process simply removes the water content, leaving behind the beneficial protein, nutrients and minerals in a powder form.

Tonemade, particularly the chef/permaculturalist Tony, is focused on sourcing high-quality, organic ingredients. Felicity is effusive in her praise for their local suppliers Cherry Tree Organics, Bendele Farm and Hazeldean Forest Farm, and the level of care they have for their soils, crops and animals. Utilising local suppliers means there’s a cool seasonality aspect to the Tonemade broth powders.

All the products have batch tracking and the labelling is certified. Felicity says that the next step is to have their products profiled for their nutritional values, as with medicinal foods or supplements you can’t ‘claim’ anything. It has to be verified and approved.

Like their products, Tonemade’s growth has been organic too. As her parents were in business, Felicity had some previous experience before starting Tonemade, and both her and Tony know food, but launching their new venture was “still scary”.

In their first year of operation, 2016, they couldn't keep up with the demand with their home-based approach. The need for expansion was clearly evident. Late in 2017, the pair invested in their commercial kitchen and each year they’ve upgraded their equipment. They employ someone in the kitchen, and Felicity’s yoga studio has had to move to create space. The Tonemade online store is very active and their bone broth powders are now heading to customers overseas. Their focus on a high-quality product and high quality service is paying off.

What Felicity and Tony have created with Tonemade is a business that nourishes them, their family, an engaged collective of local growers and producers, and loyal customers – who are living better than before.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 24

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