DOWN ON THE FARM
LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE? TOUR ONE OF THE GOLD COAST’S OLDEST FARMS, WHICH STARTED AS A BANANA PLANTATION IN 1915.
There’s adventure to be had in Currumbin Valley and it’s all thanks to a somewhat unlikely farmer. David Gower Freeman started his career as a military lawyer in the Australian Defence Force rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and saw service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Following a successful career as an international lawyer and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at QUT, it was David’s passion for fresh organic food that took his life in a completely different direction and drew him back to the family farm.
David hosts public guided tours of the farm every Sunday at 10am, where visitors can see the farm's 70 different organic crops, including 40 types of vegetables and herbs and 30 types of fruit. David puts his agricultural success down to the high quality of the soil and the passion he has for improving it.
“We are lucky enough to have deep red volcanic soil, which is the most fertile agricultural soil in the world,” he says. “Due to its unique minerals and fertility, our produce not only grows better, but has a wonderful taste and texture and is also nutrient dense.”
Guests on the tour can also visit David’s farm shop, which is open from Friday to Monday weekly. It has a fresh range of 30 fruit and veg and is principally organic, with around 80 per cent of stock grown on the farm.
The Freeman’s Organic Farm story goes back to David’s great grandfather Harold Freeman and his great great uncle, Arthur Freeman, who is regarded as the pioneer of the banana industry in Australia. Arthur began growing bananas in the Currumbin Valley, after leaving his banana plantations in Fiji. The farm was established in 1915, and in the 1920s became the largest commercial banana farm in Australia, with more than 100 acres of bananas (some 100,000 banana trees) and 40 full-time employees. In honour of Arthur, the then Albert Shire Council and Gold Coast City Council erected ‘Arthur Freeman Lookout’. Nowadays, David is in a farming family partnership with his parents, Bill Freeman MBE and Lesley Freeman OAM.
"Dad is a former WW11 fighter pilot and has been farming this land since 1946 and still works on the farm everyday at the age of 92 years. He is a local legend and is the oldest man in Currumbin Valley," David says.