I took up farming in 2001 as a way to spend more time with my son. Having had several food-related businesses previously, a farm seemed like a good opportunity to combine self-employment with fatherhood and use my permaculture skills. I found the farm on a camping trip to Mildura; my family produced sultanas in the area in the early eighties so it seemed a natural step to go back to farming. My brothers work with me at the farmers’ markets.
|Produce||Various varieties of sundried grapes, sundried apricots, peaches, pears, figs, nectarines and plums. Nuts including almonds, walnuts. Fresh grapes when in season.|
|Other markets||Veg Out (St Kilda); Gasworks; Collingwood Childrens’ Farm; Hawthorn (Boroondarah); Red Hill; Mornington; Sandringham Essendon; Caulfield; Traralgon; Bundoora Park; Kingston; Mt Eliza|
I grow a range of grape varieties that are sundried. Almonds and walnuts are grown on a leased property and I source stone fruits from local organic/chemical free farmers which I also sun dry. I believe in good ‘clean’ food, and farm using a mix of organic and biodynamic growing methods. I don’t want to work around chemicals and choose not to treat my fruit with preservatives.
Mildura is well-known for its produce and climate, making it the ideal location for drying fruit. The fruit takes two to three months to dry but is highly susceptible to climactic changes. Getting the moisture content correct is critical to the final product and extends its longevity. Farmers’ markets are now an integral part our business. It is great to have the direct connection with the consumer and to get immediate feedback.