Killer Pies handcrafted in the kitchen of a haunted Riverina mansion will feature on the menu in the Farm Gate Market pavilion this year.
Killer Pies are the brainchild of Wagga businesswoman Kate Wendt as a way of value adding to her farming enterprise at Harefield.
Ms Wendt owns the historic property Overdale which is home to a rambling mansion famously haunted by ghosts of past inhabitants.
Overdale was originally a run of over 12,145 hectares with the homestead built by the Donnelly family in the 1870s.
By 1918 the property was owned by Frank Leahy, who substantially renovated the home to give it a Californian Bungalow style brick façade.
Mr Leahy died in 1955, disinheriting his family and bequeathing Overdale to the Nursing Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, an international community dedicated to the care of the sick, dying, poor and marginalised.
Kate Wendt had a dream to turn the derelict convent on Overdale into a function centre and the luxury apartment Overdale Suite, renamed Roseleigh Manor, when she purchased the property in 2004.
The first building built on the property in 1876 now houses the restaurant and Overdale Suite while the original machinery shed and blacksmith’s building has been converted to a function centre, and the servant’s quarters are now a restaurant.
The old stables have been turned into accommodation with Room 8 famously popular among ghost hunters and paranormal investigators.
APPI Ghost Hunts and Tours have run three tours to the mansion, recording a high level of paranormal activity.
Aside from the hospitality business, Kate also owns Black Widow Australia, a commercial glazing manufacturing plant in Sydney. Her latest venture, DragonGlass, is the largest industrial lamination factory in the southern hemisphere located at Goulburn.
Roseleigh function co-ordinator Tinamaree Kirkup said the paddock to plate business value added to the property’s sheep flock and garden to produce gourmet pies, sausages and sausage rolls.
Killer Pies were first sold in 2016 from Roseleigh Gourmet in Wagga and when the café was closed, customer demand saw pie production continue in the commercial kitchen at Overdale.
The original English style gourmet pie evolved into a line of savoury and sweet versions including lamb shank, beef and Guinness, curried lamb, chicken and chorizo, chicken/mushroom/tarragon, and vegetable.
“Kate makes her own preserves from citrus trees on the property,” Ms Kirkup said.
“We have since added the sweet pies of apricot/ginger/cinnamon, Lemon Bomb made from a citrus curd using lemons grown on the property, a spiced apple pie and a gluten free traditional Italian Florentine biscuits.
“We are taking a new direction and have changed the name from Roseleigh Manor to Roseleigh the Witchery, and have developed culinary and medicinal herb gardens behind our stable accommodation.
“We introduced our new Kitchen Witches menu and the Witches Brew – a line of herbal teas custom made on site.”
Ms Kirkup said the entire savoury and sweet Killer Pies menu plus lamb and mint sausage rolls would be available at Henty’s Farm Gate.
Kate Wendt will demonstrate the finer art of pie making in the Farm Gate demo kitchen on the Tuesday, September 17.
Killer Pie staff will also present demonstrations on the Wednesday and Thursday.
“We have progressed to the bigger regional festivals, including Gears and Beers, Wagga Mardi Gras, Rewind the Vines, Spirit of the Land Festival, and are now looking forward to our first Henty,” Ms Kirkup said.
“All of our pies are handcrafted on site in the commercial kitchen on the property.”
While one staff member, Nancy, lives down the hall from the infamous Room 8, she chooses to ignore the ghosts.
Tinamaree has had several brushes with the paranormal during work hours.
“While setting the glasses out in the Lincoln board room one night, I went out to the bar and came back in to find all the glasses flipped upside down,” she said.
“We put them all back the right way, walked out to the kitchen to collect the plates, and the cutlery had been changed around.
“I told the ghost I had a debutant table etiquette lesson in 15 minutes and to scoot!
“I’ve also been working behind the bar and the temperature will suddenly turn really icy.
“The ghost hunters came twice last year and absolutely loved it – they say the paranormal activity is amazing.”
Roseleigh the Witchery hosted three ghost hunt weekends in March, July and September.
“In the future we will be holding functions to celebrate the autumn and spring equinox, winter andn summer solstice, along with medieval fairs, and hope to brew our own mead and nettle tea,” Ms Kirkup said.