George and Hilary have a long history in farming: they grew gourmet vegetables for the Perth market, and cauliflower for export in the 1990’s. Before moving to Tassie, they were a part of the Albany Farmers Market in WA. After moving to Saltwater River 8 years ago, they grew a range of gourmet vegetables for Hobart restaurants before moving their focus to growing for households. They believe passionately in providing good quality, fresh produce at affordable prices, and a significant proportion of what they grow is sold and eaten in the local area; the rest often ends up in high-end local restaurants and can also be found at a range of market stalls including Harvest Feast and the Dunalley Co-op market – as well as in your Backyard Bounty vegie boxes! Their son Joe and his wife Hawa (both currently working towards PhD’s in agricultural science) are actively involved in the sales end of the business; Joe also helps on the farm one or two days a week.
George is an inveterate tinker, routinely trying new crops and techniques – whilst some produce is grown in the ground, most is grown using a unique hybrid-hydroponic system: shallow troughs (many made from reclaimed materials!) at waist height are filled with various types of organic growing media, and fed with nutrient enriched water that not only results in a healthy plant, but also a more nutritious product. Being able to harvest without bending down to the ground also ensures healthy farmers, and with this system in place, George and Hilary plan to continue their work for years to come! Varieties of plants are carefully chosen for flavour and appearance, along with other factors like pest resistance and yield; often hours of research will go into the best choices for a planned new planting.