Mundubbera’s rosemary fields forever
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!”
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.