Backyard Bounty is a family owned and run business, founded in 2012 by Aimee & Greg Woodward, ably assisted by daughter Lilli. We celebrate the best in local, seasonal produce, both fresh through our popular vegie box service, and preserved using traditional methods in our range of condiments, jams and marmalades.
Every summer, huge quantities of beautiful fresh home-grown fruit falls from backyard trees; so many people in our age don’t either have the time or skills to make the most of this resource that in times gone by was so valued. Backyard Bounty’s beginnings were the coming together of Greg’s keen interest in cooking with a desire to use this wasted resource. A seminal moment was when neighbour Colin passed a bag of plums over the fence, offering them for free so they wouldn’t go to waste. A few hours later, and the very first batch of what would become Backyard Bounty’s silver-medal winning Chinese plum sauce was born, along with an idea. That idea grew into a system whereby home-growers could trade their excess produce for an equivalent value of preserves – which, as the range grew, meant that those home-growers could have a variety of products in exchange for a glut of a particular fruit that they simply had too much of to be able to use. As the cupboard began to fill, the name “Backyard Bounty” seemed to fit, and we began to sell our own excess of preserves, with a nifty logo designed
by Aimee, first at the local farmers market, and then at a range of shops sympathetic with our approach. As demand grew, we began to incorporate some commercially grown produce into our preserves (e.g. raspberry jam), but we continue to source from home-growers where possible, and source all ingredients locally.
In late 2013, after reading A Story of Seven Summers about Hilary Burden’s experiences in growing a vegie box program in the north of Tasmania, Aimee had the bright idea of starting a similar program in the south, utilising the bank of connections gained through our involvement in the local farmers market and out network of home-growers (who were at times offering beautiful fresh produce that we had to turn down because of a lack of suitability for traditional preserving techniques)
. We floated the idea nervously on our facebook page, and the overwhelming interest made it clear that there was a demand for the idea. In the year that followed we have continued to build our network of local growers and have more than quadrupled the number of boxes prepared each week. What started as a weekly visit to the farmers market to collect a trolley-full of fruit and veg, has become a weekly logistical excercise, with produce freighted from northern growers and collected weekly from southern growers, weighed and packed, and then delivered to homes from Margate to Richmond, Sandford to Brighton, all within the space of two days. In the past year we are proud to have injected in excess of $70,000 into the local food economy, and we hope that by making it easy and cost-effective to eat locally and seasonally, we are strengthening Tasmanians’ connection to where their food comes from, and helping local growers stay on the land by paying a fair price for a hard day’s work.
In between all this activity, we still manage to find time to indulge other passions. Aimee, in addition to being a full-time Science & Maths teacher, is a keen gardener, and creates the saved-seed packets you’ll find at our market stall, as well as contributing produce to both preserves and vegie boxes. Greg, since quitting his job as a school music teacher in 2014 to run Backyard Bounty full-time, continues to work professionally as a cellist and also conducts the training orchestra of the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra. Lilli is currently keeping herself very busy studying for her International Baccalaureate, along with a large number of co-curricular music activities and regularly mucking out the chicken house. Whilst balancing all these roles and responsibilities is definitely challenging, it’s also very rewarding hearing the regular stories about how much customers enjoy our products, how our vegie box service transforms the way families eat and the way they see food, and the knowledge that what we’re doing is making a difference in the lives of the Tassie famers who feed us and our BB vegieboxers.