Mun­dub­bera’s rose­mary fields for­ever

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

NES­TLED into the Mun­dub­bera hills is a “hands-on” cot­tage in­dus­try – Lor­raine Maskell’s rose­mary farm.

Ms Maskell har­vests, by hand, about 2500 bun­dles of rose­mary a fort­night, split into weekly or­ders for the whole­sale mar­ket in Bris­bane, and for Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets.

She said the rose­mary was har­vested with se­ca­teurs be­cause “there just wasn’t a big enough

Lor­raine Maskell Orig­i­nally, I was try­ing to be to­tally or­ganic ...

in­dus­try to spend on the in­fra­struc­ture (for me­chan­i­cal har­vest­ing).”

Ms Maskell and part­ner Bruce New­man used to grow as­para­gus and grapes.

Two hectares each of rose­mary and lemon­grass were planted about 12 years ago, af­ter heavy rain caused their as­para­gus crop to be­come dis­eased.

“As I al­ready had the cold room and ev­ery­thing for the as­para­gus and man­goes, I just went into fresh herbs,” Ms Maskell said.

“Orig­i­nally, I was try­ing to be to­tally or­ganic, but the lemon­grass got a rust in it, so Bruce took on the lemon­grass.

“I was just too flat out to do it all man­u­ally: all by your­self is very dif­fi­cult.”

Ms Maskell fills weekly or­ders for rose­mary, and bun­dles it as she goes in the pad­dock, be­fore stor­ing it in the cold room for dis­tri­bu­tion.

“You learn to be pro­duc­tive,” she said.

The out­door job en­abled her to lis­ten to ra­dio pod­casts while she works, and to take pho­to­graphs of her en­vi­ron­ment.

“I love the free­dom of it – just walk­ing out your door; how beau­ti­ful is that!”

PHOTO: SHIRLEY WAY

GROW­ING TAL­ENT: Rose­mary farmer Lor­raine Maskell is also a keen pho­tog­ra­pher. The Aus­tralian Pho­to­graphic So­ci­ety has cho­sen her wild­flower photo to com­pete in a 4 Na­tions com­pe­ti­tion, be­tween Aus­tralia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

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