It’s hard to comprehend the difference between the lengthy drought experienced during the filming of this story, and the disastrous severe flooding events our region is currently experiencing. Admittedly, Flower Power was filmed haltingly over a period of many months, being weather and timing dependent (whoever thought a coastal region would run out of water?!). And to confuse things even more, when I began writing this, the long dry finally burst its banks – literally – and I witnessed the grass grow in the time it took the drops to fall.
The other morning we got up early and took a daybreak flight over The Artisan Farmer via our drone. It felt like we were in a Grand Designs episode of our own choosing as we soared like birds over the farmland and framework of The Artisan Farmer’s main build. Thanks to Hughie for the incredible drone work – takes a steady hand! Hope you enjoy the flight across our mid north coast landscape as much as we did…
There’s no doubt the last six months across this region and beyond redefined the boundaries of ‘challenging’ for many Australians. But life is resilient, and despite the drought, bushfires, floods, and threat of Covid 19, work has continued behind the lockdown to realise the full potential of The Artisan Farmer within an onsite presence of a cafe, deli and bakery. So pop open that champagne bottle and watch this space, the site office has been delivered and the Construction Certificate and its commitments, are in. Sometimes it’s the journey as well as the destination that matters so please, join us as we take our steps, slowly but confidently, towards realising a dream.
There’s a lot to learn about avocados. Firstly, did you know the plural of avocados is not spelt with an ‘e’ (oops. Lesson learnt). Secondly, the origins of the name comes from the Aztec word for ‘testicle’. It has also been called ‘alligator pear’, referencing the rough skin and shape of the fruit. Thirdly, when growing avocados, it’s important to fertilise, mulch, and have two different types of tree – which gets me to my last point. Some types of avocado trees are A types, and others are B types. It takes a B to fertilise an A, and it takes an A to fertilise a B. This is because each tree has BOTH female and male flowers which open at opposite times of the day. For example, the A type tree’s female flower will open in the morning, and its male flower will open in the afternoon. But the B type tree does the opposite, with the male opening in the morning, then the female in the afternoon. I believe with a bit of luck and the right wind or insect, they can even pollinate their own flowers in the brief period where the male and female flowers overlap. Confused? Me too. But I think it’s still impressive.
So many thanks to local growers Sandra Fishwick and her sons Joey and Carl Hanly from Red Plateau Organic Produce, who gave me my introductory lesson in growing avocados, seen here in this short film. They have successfully navigated the sometimes choppy waters of succession farming by expanding their business across not one but now two farms. Interestingly, other local farmers are also taking up the avocado mantle, swapping dairy herds for avocado orchards as they tap into a burgeoning industry. With avocado consumption on the rise and recipes incorporating them continuously emerging well past the traditional salad, they are part of an increasingly busy local mid north coast industry supplying both big and small business nationwide.
The Artisan Farmer’s Woosters Lane, by Andreas Tychon.
Frost? Heat? Neither.
The passing of seasons is often taken for granted, as the changes occur over a period time that we are constantly adapting to. So I was taken aback to find these photographs by local Diamond Beach photographer Andreas Tychon showcasing The Artisan Farmer‘s paddocks were taken at the same using different effects, including the use of infrared. Thanks so much for sending them to us Andreas – love your comment : “The Nabiac locale is great for this type of photography, lots of trees and grassy expanses as well as mountains and hills.”
Indeed, Nabiac may be a small village on the Mid North Coast, but we consider it the centre of the universe, with a bit of everything!
The effect of frost at The Artisan Farmer. Photographs by Andreas Tychon.
It was hard to know how to name this story – really, it should read ‘Perfecting Pasta and A Few Sauces Along The Way’ but that seems a little wordy (let alone, ‘Perfecting Pasta and A Few Sauces Along the Way While Gaining An Architectural Degree and Building A Tiny Home‘ – nice one Dan!)
And yet such diversity encapsulates the cottage industry producer – having enough products to appeal to everyone, but without diluting the main idea behind the thrust of your actual passion and business.
Fortunately for Mel and Dan, sauces and pasta go naturally together and they are great at growing and making both. Continue reading “Perfecting Pasta… and more!”
A farmer has to be pretty passionate about the paddock to plate concept to step out of their field and put words into action. Of course, Peter Doyle is no stranger to the gourmet ideal, having bred his Wagyu and heritage pigs not just for market, but for his own family’s consumption. Continue reading “Doyle’s Dream”
One of the great things about this job is learning small things across a wide range of topics… And the field of mushrooms is no different… so if you already know that mushrooms ‘pin’, well, you are steps ahead of me.
Awhile back, I headed out to the hills behind Wingham to meet Levi and Kelly. The inspiring duo are putting their words into action, ‘living the dream’ to live off the land, growing exotic but highly edible (the all important word) mushrooms.
Armed with their own DIY science gleaned from that instructive omniscient resource called the Net, they successfully brave winter’s cold and beat summer’s heat to fight the good fight for their fungi, uncovering new depths to the terms ‘a sterile environment’ and ‘invention is the mother of necessity’ . This incredibly hardworking team has cheerfully approached the daunting task of growing shiitakes, oysters, king browns and more with creativity, determination and innovation, resulting in mouth-wateringly delicious results.
Amidst it all, they’ve been preparing to move the whole operation up the road to become bigger, better and even more carbon neutral. In fact, from what I’ve seen on their facebook page, that move is currently underway (that’ll be Mushrooms Episode #2!).
So forget those processed supermarket mushrooms – wrap your mouths around these tasty morsels instead. Thanks Mooral Creek Mushrooms!
As someone who used to live, drive and park in Sydney, I fully appreciate all efforts to think ahead when it comes to car parking. So here’s a quick homage and clap for The Artisan Farmer‘s recent earthworks on Woosters Lane – a precursor to the car, trailer and bus car park not to mention The Artisan Farmer itself – to follow.
Imagine throwing your energy and money into growing something for people who didn’t even know such produce existed. I realise all farming is a risk, but generally it follows trends enhanced by political or corporate decisions. To actually go out and decide to grow produce before the mass market (indigenous Australians excepted) actually exists is a pretty brave decision. But that’s exactly what native spice growers Barbara and Bruce Barlin from Barbushco decided to do, almost 30 years ago. And thanks to industry advocates, it’s paying off. Continue reading “Spicing It Up”