I often have a little laugh to myself when customers use words like “team” and “company” when they talk about our business; in reality, it’s Mr, Mrs and Miss BB, with a little bit of help on our busiest days, Thursdays and Fridays. Backyard Bounty is a family business – and whilst we do buy from some seriously large local growers and distributors of local produce, more than half the money we spend goes to farming families. When 75% of Australian children think that cotton comes from an animal, it’s great especially to see young kids taking a range of active roles on their family farms; kids are almost always the best teachers of kids, and word soon gets around about what Mum & Dad do for a living.
We’ve been buying produce from Joua & Kou from Richmond Farm since we started doing vegie boxes 3 years ago; their five children are actively involved in a range of activities including work on the farm and helping with the running of market stalls. It’s also great to know that our regular potato orders with John help pay for his adult son Ben to work on the farm; it was also great to meet Matt and Ruth from Elphin Grove last year, who amongst other things grow corn and celeriac with Matt’s parents on their Sassafrass farm.
Last weekend we packed up and headed down to the Tasman Peninsula for one of our “grower road-trips”. We’ve been buying from O&E Hansen & Son and Southern Fields for some time now, and it was great to finally get to meet both families and learn more about what they do (and explain a little more about we do!) Scott Hansen’s father Oscar begun planting out a pear orchard at the end of the WWII at Highcroft near Nubeena, and many of the same trees are still producing fruit today. Scott’s son Tom (whose favourite pear is the Packham which features in this week’s box) looks set to continue the family legacy and new plantings are being planned out to continue to maintain the health of the orchard for the future.
We also met Ben & Amy from Southern Fields; their family-run business grows all the whole lettuce for Woolworths in Tasmania – annually they grow over two million lettuces at their Forcett property, including the iceberg lettuce in this week’s boxes. Ben also comes from farming stock – his dad and uncle started Houston’s Farm, which is one of the biggest farming operations in Tasmania, and another grower we often source produce from.
Things have been a bit busy this week – the last week of the month is “accounts week”, where Mr BB simultaneously chases up late payments from the preceding month and invoices customers for the following month, along with planning, ordering and packing for the week’s boxes – and we’ve also had the extra complications of finalising arrangements for even more great locally sourced optional add-ons, but we’re really looking forward to sharing the stories from our latest road-trip in the grower profile section of our website as soon as we can!