Waurn Ponds Estate has partnered with Kinsfolk Farm to supply organically grown fruit and vegetables for use in the beautifully crafted seasonal menu. Adam, Josh and Katherine talk to Bridie and Tom from Kinsfolk about creating the farm.
What made you guys decide to become farmers? There’s obviously a lot of work here, a lot on your hands and knees, long days in the beautiful heat of the day. What made you choose that life?
I guess the catalyst for that was primarily wanting to move out of the city. We were living in Melbourne and we really wanted to move to the country. We were thinking, how are we going to find work? We were also really interested in food, good food, and the providence of the food. We slowly worked out that we loved gardening and growing food and then we thought, maybe we can make a career out of it.
It fits in perfectly. We moved out of the city, we had our country life and then we found somewhere to farm. It was kind of the dream and now we’re living the dream. Although it’s hard. We’re living the dream
Why did you choose this plot here in Moriac?
When we were searching for land, we were fortunate enough to meet the owner of this land, the owner of Ravens Creek Farm, at the farmers market that we now sell at. We’re on about an acre here. We had this little plot in the corner of the property, that he offered us in exchange for a little bit of work on his farm.
In terms of location, it suits us really well. We’re on the surf coast, it’s almost like a Mediterranean climate for us here. We get pretty warm Summers, but we can also grow in the depth of the winter as well. It has a really great community as well that we can sell to, we were fortunate to find this little plot.
It’s also just a really great size for us to start with as well. We didn’t really want to go any more than half an acre to an acre. We have pretty good access to water as well. I guess the key for us was also the health of the soil, it was really good to start with. There was, a number of pigs and cattle and sheep that would graze through here, as well as the owner of Ravens Creek Farm sowed cover crops to start with. Our first season, everything really boomed and then from there, we sort of continued on that regeneration.
How do you guys prepare for up and coming seasons? Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring; there’s obviously a lot of weather change and a lot of prep that needs to go into before even one, two, three, six months out. You’ve got things in the garden now that you’re selling. I’m sure you’ve got plots that you’re preparing for like I said, Autumn, Winter, Spring. Tell us about that, if you don’t mind.
Basically, the season starts for us in the depth of Winter where we do a lot of planning from home. We look back on the season before to see what we could improve on. We do our crop plan, list all the vegetables that we want to grow and also list out all the successions of when we’re going to grow them throughout the season.
Basically, when the soil starts to warm up, we start growing our first Spring crops. We’re seeding into the ground and just before that, we’re also feeding our soil. We bring in some compost that is well-matured and lay that into our growing beds and incorporate that into the soil. Then basically, we move throughout the Spring and Summer and continue those successions that we plan for in Winter.
We’re constantly harvesting every week and then once we get to mid-Summer, we look into the Autumn/Winter season and start preparing our beds for those crops.
The other thing we look at doing is also sowing green manure, cover crops, which are basically plants that will grow throughout the length of Winter. When it gets to the start of Spring, we’ll then mow those crops down and incorporate that into the soil. That then builds the soil health. Then we continue that cycle.
It’s basically a full 12-month cycle that we work with. We sort of just try and improve on each season as we go.