About the Farm
Our farm is a 50 acre property south-west of Sheffield, Tasmania. The very beginnings of the Don River flow through our property, and we are overlooked by the magnificent Mount Roland, which is approximately 10 km away. The farm consists of two hazelnut orchards, grazing paddocks, additional cropping paddocks, and significant areas of revegetation, including three small wetlands. The farm enjoys an abundance of bird life, including red robins, blue wrens, striated pardalotes, wattle birds, wedge tail eagles, and even the occasional sea eagle.
LOCATION & CLIMATE
We think our location is close to perfect for growing superb hazelnuts. We are a high rainfall area (1100ml per year on average), with generally dry and warm-ish summers and cold winters with frequent frosts. We are sheltered from most winds by natural land forms and shelter belts. Our soil is a deep volcanic basalt, chocolate brown in colour, with heaps of earth worms and nutrient.
HOW WE MANAGE THE LAND
Our land management philosophy is unique to us. It has been shaped by a range of influences including organics, biodynamics, permaculture, indigenous land management, Buddhism, and a strong commitment to animal welfare.
We see our farm as part of a complex web, where everything is inter-connected; the health of one is the health of all. We promote biodiversity, and actively regenerate the land. We pay particular attention to the soils, which are lovingly nurtured with compost and compost teas. Animals on our farm are loved and respected.
We prefer simple, low-tech management, but do use mechanical tools when they help.
When we purchased the land in 2006 it was over-run by weeds such as blackberry, ragwort and thistles. Gradually these are being brought under control, although a crucial part of organic farming is accepting that many weeds can never be completely eliminated. We conduct regular hand-weeding and make good use of the hoe!
The farm's goat, Sage, also played an important role from 2009 until his death in 2017.
Revegetation and Wetlands
One of our first actions after purchasing the farm was to fence off the river to keep grazing animals out, and to establish three small protected wetland areas. We've also planted approximately 2000 native trees in the time we've been here. These trees - mostly indigenous to this area - have been planted for shelter belts, along the Don River (helping to shade and stabilise the riverbank), and for bird habitat.
Although hazelnut trees are quite robust, there are some potential disease threats both inside and outside Australia. On our farm we take biosecurity seriously, so as to minimize the potential for these threats to reach our orchards.