SARAH

Country Style - - OUR LIFE IN THE COUNTRY GRENFELL NSW -

I’m a New Zealan­der. I moved to Aus­tralia for six months with my par­ents, Julie and Lewis Robins, when I was 12. We trav­elled a lot to see what Aus­tralia was like and stayed. When I first left my teach­ing job in Syd­ney and moved out here, I had a big vegetable gar­den and I’d look at what James was grow­ing and ask him why we didn’t eat what we grew — our own wheat, chick­peas, lentils. We’d trav­elled in Italy and seen how peo­ple there ate food that was pro­duced in their own re­gion. Why were we buy­ing chick­peas? Part of my in­ter­est is in­spired by the grow­ing. Both James and I have sci­ence de­grees and are into the chal­lenge. We ask lots of ques­tions: Can we source the seed? Can we grow it? Will it grow well here? What do we need to do to im­prove on that? One of the big­gest things I’ve learnt since mov­ing from the city to the coun­try is about sea­son­al­ity. When I first ar­rived, I used to say that I didn’t like lamb. Eat­ing our own lamb, it be­came ap­par­ent that I liked new-sea­son lamb, but didn’t re­ally like the taste as­so­ci­ated with an older lamb. That’s why we only sell new-sea­son spring lamb. I wouldn’t eat an av­o­cado out of sea­son, so I don’t want to sell a lamb out of sea­son. In this su­per­mar­ket age, no-one knows this any­more. We talked about sell­ing the food we grew di­rect to cus­tomers for a long time, then one day James saw a re­frig­er­ated van for sale. We de­cided that if we were go­ing to do it, we had to go all in. Once we’d worked through sell­ing the lamb, which was our first step, we re­alised we could do it with all the food we grew. We wanted it to be a part of the fam­ily farm­ing busi­ness, not go­ing against what we did, which came down to our food phi­los­o­phy around sea­son­al­ity. It was a risk, only sell­ing new-sea­son lamb when a cus­tomer can buy it from the su­per­mar­ket year-round. Why would they want to buy from us? Thank­fully, they do. We started sell­ing to friends and fam­ily, and that circle has grown wider as we’ve gone along. We’ve grown at the rate we’ve been ca­pa­ble of grow­ing, which has been nice. >

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