Red Earth Farm Tour

Red Earth Farm Tour with the Harvest Family

Our restaurant staff took a tour of Red Earth Farm, owned by Neil and Belinda in Fernleigh, New South Wales.

A little history on Red Earth Farm:

The couple were living in Canada for ten years together (Neil was born there). Being an avid gardener, Belinda worked an office job at a university in Canada, but had never farmed a day in her life. Her parents were pushing for her to move back to Australia and this presented them an opportunity to come back and start farming. They moved onto her parents farm which originally ran cattle and started to pursue their dreams of being farmers.

They started out small on quite a steep patch of land and moved gradually down the hill until they run out of room.  Their parents then moved off the land and they removed the cattle off some of the only flat land on their farm.  So Neil and Belinda kept expanding and took over that level patch of soil. With intentions to convert that steep land into an orchard, they have now been operating for 5 years and have seem to find their flow.

Neil and Belinda pose with their Paper Pot Transplanter

Using small scale practices and machinery, they are able to maximize the efficiency out of their farm to employ not only themselves, but two employees.  They do have a tractor that they use to help with bigger jobs. They also use something called a Paper Pot Transplanter, that helps maximize the time they spend planting.  Made in Japan, the couple says that this machine has "changed their lives dramatically".  Belinda goes on to say, "we hand transplanted everything, which is a lot..when you start to get to big numbers, it's kind of back breaking work.  Pretty much, 2 - 3 full days we would have to spend transplanting to keep up with things." They are able to transplant 264 plants in around 1 minute with the Paper Pot Transplanter.

Belinda admits she is an amateur flower farmer that's "slowly taking over" more and more of their rows that normally would be planted out with food.  The couple admits they tend to plant crops that have a short turn around time, stating this is one of the ways to make small scale farming profitable.

Connecting our staff with the local producers that grow the beautiful vegetables we use in the restaurant was a beautiful experience. With such a wide variety of crops to choose from, keep your eyes out for Red Earth Farm at the local markets here in the Northern Rivers.

 

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7 days | 6.30 am - 3 pm

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18-22 Old Pacific Highway
Newrybar Village NSW 2479
Byron Bay Hinterland
Australia

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