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Happy New Year!
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Happy New Year from Rohan, Fiona, Eden & Jethro
of Gleneden Family Farm & Bullock Team.

 

Hello Cozette,

2017 has already seen a big change for us and a few small ones, while many things will remain just the same.
After more than a year of deliberation we have made the difficult decision to leave our home of 107 years and seek a more viable farm base for our people-based agriculture enterprises. Thanks to some incredible family generosity (the most benevolent of banks) we have landed on a beautiful square mile (640 acres) farm straddling the narrow valley of North Branch Creek just off the Cunningham Highway, near the village of Maryvale, between Warwick and Cunningham’s Gap. The location, situation and setting are wonderful and we have great hopes for a long future here.


Location    

  • One turn off a busy highway and an easy day trip from the population centres of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba (and their airports). It is much easier for us to deliver our produce to our customers from here and for our campers and day visitors to reach the farm.
  • On the tourist route to the popular holiday spots on the Granite Belt.
  • Nearby to other complimentary rural tourism attractions.
  • Day visiting distance to Rohan’s siblings and cousins and 400km closer to Fiona’s family.
  • In the same district as the other five families in our Holistic Farming group.
Situation
  • CATTLE TICK FREE!! And many fewer buffalo flies. Organic cattle are so much easier here.
  • Just west of the Great Dividing Range – we catch both coastal and western rainfall patterns.
  • Fertile, self-mulching black basalt soil.
  • Diverse pasture profile from kikuyu and fodder crops on alluvial flats to native grasses on steep timbered ridges.
  • Irrigation water from the creek and a bore.
  • Bitumen access to the front gate.
  • Temperate climate with subtropical rainfall pattern.
Setting
  • The farm is a roughly rectangular cross section of the North Branch Creek valley.
  • About a kilometre of North Branch Creek and its namesake road run through the farm dividing its North and South facing aspects.
  • The creek babbles behind the house in all but the driest weather and two large permanent waterholes are divided by a low, wide waterfall giving the farm its name, The Falls.
  • Imposing ridgelines as high as 800m form our North and South boundaries, while the sun rises over the Great Divide and sets over the Darling Downs.
  • The house and farmyard are high and dry on a small sheltered ridge between the road and creek, while a short walk up the hill gives views of the ranges and downs.
We have been here less than a month and have felt happy, comfortable and optimistic right from the beginning. While we mourn a little for our old family farm, the many attractions of our new place certainly have made it an easy transition.

 

The Big Move

We packed up and moved in a very short space of time during December, arriving permanently at our new farm on the 19th, 4 days before our first Christmas visitors. In hindsight it was not clever to move a whole farm with much equipment and many different animals, and two households (Rohan’s mother Helen moved to Toowoomba at the same time), at the hottest, busiest time of year when everyone is tired and flat out. But it had to be done. We got there in one piece thanks to:

  • the miraculous success of Rohan’s complicated transport arrangements,
  • Fiona’s tireless packing,
  • Rohan’s dad Derek’s time and energy (he’s helped with every move since Rohan left home),
  • our Gayndah and Warwick friends who dismantled, drove, packed, unpacked, fed, supported and encouraged us,
  • can-do truck driver Cyril Wickham of Goomburra (if you want to shift anything he’s your man) who cheerfully loaded and carted four decks full off the most awkward and eclectic looking farm equipment the other traffic had ever seen,
  • friendly farmers Geoff and Merv who each carted two loads of cattle in their trucks,
  • and the furniture truck hire company giving us a nine tonne truck instead of a six, which we filled twice.

Without any one of these the whole operation would have ground to a halt instead of progressing smoothly. Thank you everyone.
 
Next week a French WWOOFer is arriving who has a Masters in Logistics and Transport. Where was he in December???

The Future at The Falls

Our farming and agri-tourism enterprises will continue largely as though we never moved, with the natural developments in volume and quality our new farm will allow. Being bigger, wetter, cooler and more fertile it will carry larger flocks and herds in our multi-species, nomadic, holistic grazing system. As we build our animal numbers, this increase will be reflected in our produce availability.
 
Produce sales this year will be dominated by our pastured pork products and pasture fed beef. There will always be a trickle of eggs from our pastured poultry and later in the year some fruits and veges may start to appear. Our commitment to ethical, natural, sustainable farming practices continues. For the health of our planet, farm, animals, microbes, customers and selves we use no synthetic chemicals, hormones or fertilisers. All purchased animal feeds are either certified organic or personally checked to be chemical free. As the farm was conventionally managed by the previous owners we have decided for the sake of integrity to drop the word “organic” from our farm name, but we continue our organic farming practices as before. Our new name is Gleneden Family Farm.
 
We will continue welcoming visitors to Gleneden Family Farm for camping, farm tours, working bullock team/bush skills displays, produce collection and farm skills/kitchen craft workshops. The Easter Weekend is our planned opening date for displays and farm tours but our first campers are arriving next week and as word gets around we expect a steady flow of visitors. Campers will be spoilt for choice with lovely spots all around the farm; near running water, or waterholes, or the farmyard animals, or with hilltop views. Our new model of heritage listed portaloo means that we can migrate campers around the farm just as we do with all our other species.

Holistic Farming and Rare Breeds

We are excited by the opportunities in front of us this year and into the future. The chance to implement the wonderful benefits of Holistic Farming onto a bigger area of land has us itching to finish our unpacking and throw ourselves into the planning and practical works involved. Jethro and Rohan have already been busy rolling out the waterlines that facilitate our holistic grazing system around the farm. A network of electric fencing is soon to follow then we will be able to start seeing the benefits that Holistic planned grazing brings to the landscape. Holistic Management has a triple focus of environment community and economy. From a community view, we will be able to bring benefit to a larger number of local and regional people by building links between nearby urban populations and our new rural home, and by making our clean, ethical, local food available to them. By attracting visitors from outside the region we should be able to contribute a small but significant flow-on effect to our local economy.
 
Rare or old breeds of farm animals are another aspect of our farm we are focussing our energies on. There are so many reasons we enjoy and value rare breeds on our farm. We choose carefully from the catalogue of breeds forgotten by modern factory farming to find robust, practical, multi-purpose animals that produced the high quality, flavoursome foods our grandparents ate in the days before efficiency driven chemical farming. These breeds have the added benefit of enriching our lives and enhancing our farm with their interesting appearances and personalities. Keeping them is an act of genetic preservation in an era where domestic species are becoming extinct. Productivity of the breeds is also important as they must form a viable part of our farm business. Our animals don’t just look good and stay healthy, they produce a lot of very good food. We were able to bring our Wessex Saddleback pigs, Toggenburg goats and multiple poultry breeds with us and now that we are free of the accursed cattle tick we have begun to transition our cattle herd to our rare breed of choice Dairy Shorthorns. This tri-purpose breed, from the days before farming specialisation, is a milking animal that also produces an excellent, textured beef carcass without grain feeding. Some of the steers will end up in our working bullock team giving three uses from one breed on the farm. One of our cows came from the dispersal sale of the last commercial dairy milking pure Shorthorns, now the breed in Australia is in the hands of a few enthusiasts working to keep the breed afloat. The genetics are not easy to find but we intend to build our cow numbers and genetic diversity as opportunity and finances allow. We sold our flock of ubiquitous Dorper sheep before we moved (bringing sheep to Warwick would be like bringing mandarins to Gayndah) and will look to starting again with a flock of rare sheep breed appropriate to our purposes and climate.

Lots of Pastured Pork Products

Our first produce available this year will be delicious, nutritious pork from our old breed, slow grown, organically fed, free range pastured pigs. Sides, boxed selections and individual cuts of our fresh pork, gluten/nitrate free sausages and traditional nitrate free cured ham and bacon will be ready for delivery, collection and our local markets soon. We have found a local butcher and are looking forward to building a great relationship between producer, processor and customers. Fresh pork will be ready Friday January 20 and ham/bacon the following Wednesday, the 25th. Visit our Gleneden Family Farm shopfront on the Open Food Network website or contact us directly to order.

Our chemical free pasture fed beef will appear in the coming months while our popular sides of grass fed lamb will be unavailable (sorry) in the temporary absence of a flock of sheep.

If you are in our new local area come along and say G'day to us at the Warwick Seasonal Feast Markets on Saturday the 21st or the Glengallan Homestead Australia Day markets.

Our breeding Saddleback sows have had a nice time exploring along the creek on their way to a new shady summer paddock, while Rohan followed behind pushing their fencing in the wheelbarrow.

Until Next Time

Thanks for coming along on our journey to the new Gleneden Family Farm.

It would help us if you could share or forward our newsletter to anyone who may enjoy it, particularly people living in the South East corner of Queensland or the Darling Downs. We would love to see you at our new farm this year or to deliver you a box of our delicious, healthy produce.

Rohan, Fiona, Eden and Jethro

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