Urban Forager

Urban Forager


We’re celebrating the heart of our state – the passionate growers, producers and makers who bring fresh flavours and quality products to our tables.

Urban Forager was born 12 years ago in Lou Corteen’s kitchen as an answer to the question ‘what shall I be when I grow up’? Having worked as a research biologist and a teacher, and doing the admin for her partner while their children were small, she was wondering what to do next. When her partner’s staff member suggested selling her handmade preserves.

Like many people, Lou’s love of food comes from strong family connections to food.  Her grandmother was an absolutely incredible cook, from cooking for a farm load of workers in the 40s and 50s to extravagant dinner parties in the 60s and 70s.  She grew much of her own food.

The business started out collecting people’s unwanted backyard produce and turning it into beautiful preserves like lemon curd, passionfruit curd, jams and chutneys. The name Urban Forager sprang from the notion of foraging in people’s gardens for figs, lemons, plums etc. Of course, Lou needed to buy other ingredients, but always purchased organic, so added a few purely organic lines using ‘seconds’ from the wholesale market. These proved very popular and before too long these products were being supplied to organic stores across Perth. At the same time a shelf stable version of the vegetable stock Lou had made for years was being developed. Having a background in biology helped and working with a professor of food science to ensure it was safe.

Two rebrands and lots of hard work in small spaces later, Urban Forager were lucky to move into a custom-made kitchen in Bibra Lake in 2021 with lots of space to grow. They now have an incredible team of staff, suppliers and customers and feel very, very lucky.

The vegetable stock concentrate grew to become Urban Forager’s best selling and most profitable product, but the amount of time spent driving around collecting a few kgs here and a few kgs there of excess produce, and the enormous range of products produced, meant the business was highly inefficient and not profitable. There was a market for meat stock concentrates so the hard decision was made to let the other product lines go, while continue the hard work on the stock concentrates (all while balancing work and spending time with her daughters).

Believe it or not, most stock cubes, powder and bouillon don’t contain a large percentage of actual vegetables or meat. Some organic stocks don’t contain organic beef or organic chicken. They’re generally about 3-4% vegetables, with the best ones up to 12%. The rest is a mixture, depending on brand, of salt, sugar, filler (like cornflour or maize), yeast extract (flavour enhancer) and sometimes palm oil. Hard to believe, but true. Liquid stocks are not much better – you are paying for a lot of water and consuming so much non-recyclable packaging. Not to mention the fossil fuels required to transport and store all that packaged product.

Urban Forager stock concentrates are certified organic and full of simple, real ingredients and nothing else. The chicken stock contains 22% free range organic chicken; the beef stock contains 20% free range, grass fed, organic beef. The rest is organic vegetables, local organic olive oil, local organic apple cider vinegar, spices, herbs and salt. Using lake salt from Lake Deborah in the south west, mined by a family business that has been operating for over 100 years and is 5km from their kitchen. Being lake salt, you can be confident it does not contain the microplastics that are now sadly found in sea salt.

The Urban Forager organic chicken stock concentrate is a favourite of Lou’s because it’s the most versatile – you use it in almost everything!

Make gravy by mixing with the pan juices, lemon juice, a pinch of rapadura sugar and if pushed for time, a little cornflour to thicken it;  Added to butter, olive oil and garlic in a pan and then quickly fry a whole head of broccoli florets and some snow peas as a side dish;  Mixed  with olive oil and loads of herbs as a rub over potato wedges; it goes into a chicken & brandy pate recipe; there is a killer chicken, zucchini & haloumi ball recipe that is a real crowd pleaser and has a little chicken stock in it; of course it takes chicken noodle soup to the next level, and there are plenty of customers who use it to make a quick ramen meal.

Because it’s a concentrate, a little goes a long way, with one jar making 10 litres of stock, there are not many savoury dishes that won’t benefit from a spoonful (or two) of chicken stock concentrate being added! Once opened it can last up to a year in the fridge, so it won’t go bad.

You can find Urban Forager Stock Concentrates in store in our stock aisles.