"How did you become garlic farmers" is something we get asked a lot. If we told our 20 year old selves 'you'll live in the country and grow garlic' we would've laughed, for days.
After taking a wrong turn on a Sunday drive in the country in 2008, we saw a sweet little farm house set amongst the rolling green hills of South Gippsland. What a cute place we thought, then we saw the for sale sign. Without really having a plan we bought it! Then quit our busy city lives, for, well even busier lives in the country! Who knew how much hard work was involved in farming.
We started out planting a few bulbs I found for sale on the counter at a nursery. It grew well, like just about everything we plant in our super-fertile soil. So we planted more the next year. Then more and more. We've had a few disasters along the way. And we're constantly learning. There was very little information around in Australia when we started out, so there was a lot trial and loads of error. We've planted too close and got rust, put mulch on too thick and ended up with slippery skin, picked too early, left it too late, raged at the lack of rain, raged at the hail but in the end, we alway get a crop, and it's very satisfying.
Our first ever farmers' market was at Churchill Island. An idyllic setting. We took our 1978 F100 truck full of garlic, and we were full of optimism. We sold out and thought this might actually work.
Fast forward to today and we are so thrilled to have customers in Kalgoorlie, Burnie, Townsville and all over the country. We started making a range of garlic salts and granules as a way to preserve our garlic. My grandparents came from the Ukraine and used to preserve food in salt, so we experimented with a range of garlic salts using herbs and ingredients we grow, and then tested them out on our farmers' market customers. They were a hit.
OUR FARM IN RANCEBY
When we moved here we were excited to see so many fruit and nut trees already growing. A 100+ year old chestnut tree, walnuts, figs, heritage apples, apricots, peaches, pears to name a few. We love growing our own everything. And we like to keep it natural. The birds get quiet a lot of our fruit, but that's OK. We don't mind them dropping by, as long as they leave us some. We have birds that return to the farm to nest every year and love it when they show up safely. A galah couple have made a home in a gum not far from the house and it's sweet to see their little fluff balls emerge. We do get feral cats and foxes, but our dogs help keep them away from the wildlife.
THE LITTLE BLUE TRACTOR
Real farmers need a tractor. So without any knowledge, we bought a sweet little Ford tractor to help us around the farm. It became the inspiration for the logo I designed, but we realised after a few near disasters, that a two wheel drive tractor wasn't ideal for our hilly landscape. We sadly parted with our trusty, dangerous, sweet ride, and upgraded to a four wheel drive orange Fiat.
If there's anything you'd like to know about our farm, we're always happy to answer your questions so please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org