So here we are in June, and we've been on the farm since November 2017!!
What a ride so far, if you follow my social media accounts you will have had snippets of the goings on in the past few months.
We have had a very successful first CSA season, and subsequently our Winter '18 CSA has sold out in record time. (check out the CSA pages on the website to learn about CSAs)
It's humbling, exciting, nerve wracking and all sorts of emotions rolled into one!!
And this is the blog post I should have written in the beginning..... of how Red Ochre Organic Farm came about.
Grab a cuppa, or drink of your choice, and settle in for a bit of a read. I tend to go off on tangents, so will TRY to keep it engaging!!
I've wanted to grow food on a bigger scale than the average backyard allows for as long as I remember. Early in 2016 I had a health crisis that really made me question what I was doing with my life, the purpose behind it, why I wasn't following my heart and how on earth I could make it happen with the time I have left! I worked hard on figuring out how I could make farming a reality for myself, as I pushed away the idea of being unhappy in a job I didn't enjoy. I have many qualifications I can fall back on, but those career paths just don't really 'do it' for me! I always felt like I was destined to do something good in the World, and working in jobs that made me unhappy were not guiding me on that path. So, I surrounded myself with people who could help me, not in a practical sense, more spiritually and emotionally, in fact a lot of these people don't even know the impact they have had in opening my eyes to what can be achieved!
I read a lot, I watched a lot of videos and upskilled myself to a point that I had some farming knowledge. I volunteered on farms, I attended workshops and talks and soaked that information up like a sponge. Being a city girl wanting to farm is a hard task when you aren't born into the lifestyle, but I was determined to make it work.
Then an opportunity came up that looked promising! A friend shared a post on Facebook about someone who had some land to lease for farming/growing. I connected with this person and his ideas and the land were perfect! It was so good to plan to be a part of a plan that was inspirational and just simply amazing! Unfortunately right when I was ready to break ground the plans were shelved, and I was left feeling a little disheartened, but still very focused and determined to make my dream a reality.
Another Facebook shared post gave me a little hope! Someone had a plot of land that was currently being unused and they wanted to bring someone in the share farm it. I contacted them about their plot, and after some meetings, discussions and writing out a bit of a plan then land was mine to farm!
I was so excited, and whilst it took a little while to get things going, the experience has been incredible, and has proven to me that this is what I want to do until I retire!
So some info about how share farming is working for us. The owners Jess & James, have this amazing property in Krondorf, S.A. It is a boutique vineyard complete with an acre dedicated to growing food. Half of this is comprised of a 50 tree heritage orchard with some amazing fruit trees growing. Then there is a small strip of land down the middle connected to a chicken coop, which houses 10 chooks who free range during the day. The other half of the land is where the produce for Red Ochre Farm is grown.
The entire set-up is amazing and very well thought out. The whole yard is contained by fox and rabbit proofed fencing. The veggie growing side has four water outlets (connected and shared with the filtered bore water that irrigates the vineyard), as well as 4 gates evenly spaced to divide the area into quarters. A mobile fence can be erected across the plot to allow the chickens access through each gate in rotation with crops. It is an amazing set-up, and one I feel very lucky to be able to use. In exchange for farming this plot we grow produce for Jess, James and their kids to pick and eat as they please, and so far they have seemed happy with what I'm doing with their land. It feels great to know like-minded people are out there, and share-farming has allowed me access to my dream of being a farmer. We have no chemicals, sprays, synthetic inputs of any kind, and use hand tools and blood sweat and tears! ( with the exception of a petrol powered tiller used at the beginning to till the cover crops that had been slashed and sitting there for a while).
The plot was used previously for growing veggies on, so there was some irrigation set up when we started. There was enough to cover 1/4 of the plot. The rest of the irrigation I scavenged for free, the bulk coming from a property where the owners were just going to 'burn it' (insert a shudder at the thought of burning all that plastic!). It has worked really well, and I have spent a minimal amount on getting the farm set-up.
So next month the Cellar door is due to open. I will be letting everyone know when that is so you can come and buy the amazing wine being produced here, and you can catch a glimpse of the farm while you're there too! Keep and eye out for the label - Krondorf Creek farm -
Hopefully that's given a bit of a snippet into the farms beginnings, and how I am able to farm!
Fingers crossed my next post isn't so far away!