Australian Fair Food Forum

Aussie ecological orchard roundup ... where are you all?

Hi there happy ecological orchardists, thought I’d kick start the ‘Orchard’ category with a simple call out to see who else is out there growing food on trees in the ‘Fair Food’ space as we seem to be few and far between … I’m feeling lonely on the Fair Food Forum :wink: and can’t see anyone orcharding here accept my trusty mentor @murrnong

So drop this topic a quick note and let us know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

We’re in Stanley in NE Vic and we are establishing a cool climate biodiverse orchard and nursery operation called Black Barn Farm. We will shortly have pick your own berries, apples, pears, cherries and quince plus retail fruit and plant sales and are already offering seasonal workshops.

Who else is out there??

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Hey Charlie

Seems as if there is precious few of you out there …which is a shame.

I have seen a couple of call for investment into projects for orchid growing but not a lot of established commenters.

It is something I am looking into myself to establish a connection in the SE QLD area Stanthorpe, Warwick, if you know of anyone in the area let me know.

An article on your site caught my eye “Vegetable gardening is a false economy” I had a smile reading it reminding myself that to what one man is the joy to the other a challenge. I understand your sentiment behind the words I hope your project is going well for you. :slight_smile:

Hey Russell, thanks for the comment, there clearly are precious few of us,
the barriers to entry in orcharding are high as are the return time frames
which makes it bloody tough for new young aspiring fair food orchardists.
Market gardening and livestock are less risk, less capital, shorter return
periods and way less issues with land tenure…

Well the downside is not as many people to yarn about grafting, rootstocks
and mycrorhyza with but the upside is limited competition!

I don’t know any orchardists in the Stanthorpe area sorry. Others on here
of those more northern climes will have an idea though. All the best with
your endeavours and drop on by if you’re ever Stanley way.


@JRHalfMoonFarm am I correct in thinking you’re growing food trees? Although a very different climate!

That’s right @Jen . We’ve got a small avocado orchard as well as a range of mixed fruit trees. @Russell, we’re about two hours north of Stanthorpe at Hampton. Our climate is warm temperate, so we can grow a diversity of deciduous and evergreen trees pretty successfully. I know a couple of orchardists down on the Granite Belt - Dennis Angelino grows chem free pome and stone fruit and is definitely worth checking out. Suttons have a good range of apples. You should also talk to @EKR from Food Connect, who’ll have way more orcharding contacts down that way than me.

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Hey Justin

We have family out your way- ish Crows nest I see on your website you have farm gate sales
we will make a point of connecting at some point, I will follow up on the other links you provided thanks.

Regards Russell

PS followed your Instagram as watzzupsport.

Hey Charlie

Yes, there is a barrier to entry to new growers for sure.

I still get sad when I was growing up in Brisbane and the gold coast remembering
some of the orchards that used to be around before “progress” swallowed them up
for housing estates.

For sure will make an effort to say hi if we are in the area thanks, same on the flip side.

Regards Russell

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Hi Guys,

On Monday, I’ll email our fruit farmers in Stanthorpe and Gayndah and encourage them to the forum. They tend to stay away from technology though, but I can certainly ask their permission to share their contact details and we can take it from there.

Have a great weekend. Looking forward to catching up with Jade at the AWIA conference this weekend @Charlie_Showers :smile:

Hurrah … some action in the Orchards post!

Thanks @Russell for chiming in! Had a good gasbag with @JRHalfMoonFarm at deep winter, oh how I’d love to grow Avo’s to smash like Justin :avocado:. Thanks @EKR for trying to add some other growers to the forum that would be swell, @jademiles2 had a great time up your way at AWIA and came home more head over heals for Food Connect! :apple::green_apple:

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How did you go about getting their permission to share their contact detail as I do not seem to be able to any leads to contact Dennis. I am taking a trip to Stanthorpe soon and would like to have a chat.

Regards Russell

Hey Charlie.

I just have had a really interesting offer pass my way and I would like to canvas any ideas and structures that I could learn from to implement it.

I was approached by the owner of a certified organic property ( who stopped in to buy my strawberries) to lease land from him on a long-term opportunity.

I would like to grow more fruit than I have the space to do, so this opportunity fits well.

What type of fruit would suit this type of arrangement and what amount of agreement structure would need to be in place, length of a lease, water, certification etc.

Any thoughts on the opportunity are appreciated.

Regards Russell

Hi Russell, could be a great opportunity if you can secure long term access to the land. I don’t have any experience in leasing farm land however a place to try could be Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, they recently leased their orchard as part of a larger farming alliance (market garden, micro dairy & distillery)

Good luck!

Hey Charlie

Yes I did see that thread in regards to the opportunity.

I am attending an online presentation by Hugh and Katie this evening.

Link :
Room password : N/A

Webinar title : 5 Key Steps to Quick Success with Fruit Trees in Australia
Webinar description : A free online workshop with Hugh & Katie Finlay

Webinar hosted by : Hugh & Katie Finlay

Date : Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Time : 07:30 pm Melbourne, Sydney, Currie, Canberra, Hobart, GMT +11

Regards Russell

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I managed to track down Dennis from Stanthorpe and had a great time visiting him and getting advice from him in regards to setting up an orchard and the suppliers he has for crop health etc.
Regards Russell

Moving into a new place in Tasmania end of January. We’ll be setting it up with a blueberry, avocado and maybe cider apple orchard. Trying to grow things I love to eat & drink which I think I could make a living from.

It’ll take us a few years to get it producing anything, startup costs are rising quite quickly, but should be interesting to see how it turns out.

Good luck with it all, as you say startup up costs are always a barrier that stands in the way
of the dream and the reality.

Thanks. We’re getting the place set up in stages. I’m not sure I want to keep working at current job (software developer) for much longer, so planting in the order of 10,000 blueberries, 500 avocados and 1000 high density cider apples in next few years. To fund that, growing garlic eventually over 3 acres and putting in a market garden. grow that all organically and I think we’ll have our hands full.

It to keep the, full, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube and read lots of blog entries on market gardens about the planing stages for a year. Tool of choice it seems is Excel. Think a lot of the planning for crops, rotation, seedlings etc marry up well with my background in supply chain management. Thinking of creating software to help makemthat portion more efficient. Lots of ideas, the next year will see if able to pull it off and whether thought is anywhere close to reality

I think you are right with your concept of a better planning tool than excel. I have seen a couple of online planners such as but I am sure you can find a way to tailor it as a unique tool.
I think there could be work done on a platform for managing online selling CRM and product distribution that small enterprises could access.
Regards Russell

Hi Joe, great to hear your plans, look forward to hearing how it all progresses for you, feel free to drop in to discuss orchard planning etc if you are ever up our way (NE Vic), we’re two years in.

You should come along to the Deep Winter event in 2018, it is in Tassie next winter, being organised by Jilly @twelvetreesfarm, a blueberry grower to boot. Here is info on last years, good times and bloody great crew!

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Hi Charlie. I just took a look at the details for Deep Winter event. I had one holiday planned this year for a week, it just happens to start on the same day as the event. Will be in a house on Fraser Island instead for the event.

We moved into the house 2 months ago. Over that time, we’ve fixed up irrigation infrastructure (we now start expanding it), have the place looking better, been buying gear and planted test lots of garlic. Have poly tunnels being worked out a price on (looking for roughly an acre’s worth, two would be better), test lot of avocado trees on their way and putting in order for first of the blueberry plants.

I just think it’s going to take a lot longer than expected to get it all up and running. I’ve had to keep working for the first bit while we get things established, my work travel schedule is pretty heavy at the moment and it’s way, way too easy to spend money on things. Thankfully we’ve made some contacts in the area who’re helping us out, been an unexpected boon to keep us a little more sane.