Feature

A farmhouse in your letterbox

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We talk to the organic farmers at Bellbowra Certified Organic from Farmhouse Direct, an online farmer’s market that cuts out the middleman and supports small-scale Australian farmers.

Bel-Terry-first-planting

Terry planting one of the first pecan trees.

Pecans-and-Garlic

Pecans and garlic are grown together in harmony at Bellbowra Certified Organic.

Bel-all-products

All of the products at Bellbowra - certified organic garlic, pecans and macadamias.

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Cut out the middleman and buy direct from your favourite producers; and receive it all via Australia Post direct to your home. Experience delights that are usually only available from farmer's markets, such as Bellbowra Certified Organic's pecans, macadamias and garlic.

Dawn Thornton & Terry Bates, Bellbowra Certified Organic.

How long have you been running your organic farm?
"We bought our farm in 2001 and undertook thorough research on crops suitable to our local climate and soils in the Nambucca Valley, NSW. Our first small garlic crop was harvested in 2002 and we planted one pecan orchard of 400 trees in 2003 and a second orchard of over 200 trees in 2007. We commenced the organic certification process immediately and achieved our A grade certification at the end of 2003."

Do you sell at farmer’s markets as well? How is selling on Farmhouse Direct different?
"We don’t sell directly at local markets, however we are part of a local initiative to market organic produce cooperatively – the biggest share of our produce goes to the wholesale markets in Brisbane and Sydney.

"Farmhouse Direct offers us a web presence (without any of the hassle!) – we can connect directly with consumers wherever they may be and tailor orders to suit their needs. Farmhouse Direct offers us an increased opportunity to reach customers - we’ve sent pecans and macadamias as far away as Geraldton in WA and our garlic has travelled to Outback Queensland and NSW! So consumers without access to good quality organic produce locally can have it delivered to their door. Interestingly though we are also sending produce locally through Farmhouse Direct as more people choose to shop online."

Why is organic produce so important to you?
"Terry and I have always been committed to environmental conservation and protection – maintaining and increasing the biodiversity on our farm and protecting our creeks is just as important to us as the nuts and garlic we produce.

"We both worked in the environment profession prior to becoming farmers and we have seen firsthand the pollution and human health impacts of the manufacture, distribution and use of agricultural chemicals throughout the world. So it was very important for us to manage our own farm by minimising inputs and without the use of agricultural chemicals."

Why do you think more people should look for organic products when making purchases?
"When you buy organic produce from a sustainably managed farm, you are reducing the impact of your consumption on the natural environment at the farm level. Using all natural inputs and with no artificial chemical residues in the products, buying organic has got to be a healthier option!"

What’s your top tip for a sustainable festive season this year?
Develop your celebratory menus with fresh, organic and in-season produce. Store pecan and macadamia nuts in the fridge and they will last for months.

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For a limited time, from Friday 9 November through to Sunday 18 November, Farmhouse Direct is offering a free shipping promotion so you can try a producer’s goods without the additional cost of shipping.