Avocadoes from Comboyne

Avocadoes from Comboyne

Ron the grower talking with Anton

Ron the grower talking with Anton

Avocadoes like well drained soil and there is a higher altitude are north of Sydney, north of Taree known as Comboyne. The town is small and quaint and if you drive through a wonderful Cafe to have lunch.

Ron avocadoGrower Ron Lindsay is following a passion with growing his avocado trees whilst renovating a former cheese making warehouse into his home, cafe and maybe a home brew …… mmm have to say their guacomole was dynamite, extra garlic, would go great with a home brew beer…of things to come.

So we thought you  might like to see where your avocadoes are grown.

Where is Comboyne?

Where is Comboyne















Three photos showing country avocadoes are grown in and the trees.

Avocado trees Aug





Ron Avocado country ComboyneRon avocado tree

























Country Valley Dairy in Picton needs your help

Country Valley Dairy in Picton needs your help

Country Valley in Picton is suffering through a bad drought. This dairy farm with its own dairy makes and distributes Country Valley milk, yoghurt and cream – and is the last remaining dairy farm in the Sydney basin.  The drought is forcing John to buy hay throughout winter, which will cost him $1350 per cow.  He needs help: sponsor a cow, and bring your family on a farm visit to Picton, just 2 hours south of Sydney. Read his story below and contact him via Facebook (@CountryValleyMilk) or phone 02 4677 2223 to make a donation, big or small…read on below photo.

Country Valley farmer needs your help

John Fairley is a 5th generation dairy farmer in Picton.  The farm was established nearly 150 years ago and is now one of the last remaining dairies in the Sydney basin.  “With the urban sprawl getting ever closer, the harder it becomes to keep places like Picton rural. However, farming is more than a job, it is a way of life and it effects the lives of more than just the families who farm. To us it is not just about dollars and cents but about our heritage and the way we want to see our valley stay as farm land”, says John.

After deregulation of the milk industry in 2000, farmers like John were paid 26c per litre by the milk processors.  Which much of NSW in drought, John decided to become ‘Master of his own Fate’: he built his own dairy and started selling milk and yoghurt under the Country Valley brand into the Sydney and Canberra markets. It didn’t take long before he started buying milk from nearby farmers, paying them 20% more than what they got from the processors.

Country Valley went on to win prizes at the Royal Easter Show, and Pepe Saya uses Country Valley cream and milk to make his premium cultured butter.

For a few years, Harvest Hub sold Country Valley products.  Our members loved the creamy taste of the fresh milk and the thick yoghurt (without gum) – until the NSW Food Authority tightened the compliance requirements for storing and transporting dairy products which made it prohibitively expensive for small distributors like us.

However, times are lean on the farm right now.  Picton, and the wider Wollondilly shire, are in drought. Says John: “The time has come to swallow my pride and ask for help. The realisation that we will be fully feeding cows, all winter, has arrived. Even if it rains next week and we get crops in, it will get cold and we will still have no feed. My 83-yr. old Dad said he has never seen it worse than this.

“One of our options we put on the table to get through the drought was to shut the dairy down. I just can’t do it.

“We have developed the herd over time, milking daughter after daughter. We all grew up helping our Dad’s and Grandfathers on weekends and school holidays. The dairy is a part of who we are. ‘It takes a tribe to raise a child’ resonates with me.

“I want my grandkids to help my son and maybe my daughter in the future.

“I am asking our supporters of Country Valley to adopt a cow or a calf, to help my family get through to Spring. Any amount, with enough people, will help. You will receive a photo of your cow which you can name if you like. Then we are offering a visit to the farm on a roster basis over time. You can introduce yourself, to the cow that is, and me as well of course. You can milk a cow which might not necessarily be yours, depending on the timing. We finish the day by helping to feed the calves and choose a sample bag to take home.

“I have estimated that it will cost $1350 per cow to feed her until the end of September. And I have 130 cows to feed! This is by no means a minimum amount for adoption. I’m just trying to let you know the scale of my problem.

“Anyone kind enough to help out please email me at johnfairley@countryvalley.com.au with your details and we can register you in the Cow Diary. Or call 02 4677 2223 and ask for Sally or Tom in business hours. Any help will be greatly appreciated”.

Happy 5th Birthday Harvest Hub

Celebrate together in the month of October.

The Harvest Hub Community

MontageThis month, October, Harvest Hub turns 5.

Wow! It’s been the most amazing half decade, and we’re grateful for the fabulous support from members for local Sydney Basin growers. If you haven’t had a chance to get to know them check them out Our Growers.

We’ve also seen 5 to 6 fruit shops and small grocers closing their doors each week nationally due to the ’big’ Colesworth pressures on pricing and the contracting of suppliers to tough requirements.

On our 5th year Harvest Hub also celebrates diversity and sustainability by supporting local farming families. It’s not an easy life  – up at the wee hours cutting produce before the heat of the day changes the sugar content and selecting the leafy greens to stop them from wilting. Then there is a dash to the market or having everything ready for pickup.

The supermarket price wars are making life tough and uncomfortable for the small growers, and stacks the big end of town with the corporatization of farming. “Fed-up Farmers Unite to Fight Supermarket Price War with Code of Conduct” remind us a good sustainable living for farmers should be viable – without locking farmers and food manufacturers into prices that ensure that they lose.

The supply of fresh, seasonal food full of flavour, made and grown locally, in ways that promote cooking and eating well are wins for all of us.

Our growers are vital to sustaining Sydney’s health: their farming counteracts residential development and their crops work as our city’s lungs.

Golden beetroot and white carrots are vegetables you won’t find in supermarkets; these vegetables speak to the diverse range of seasonal food that growers unfettered by strict supply contracts demand. Bowan Island bread and muesli and Evia yoghurt are nourishing artisan food made on a scale that guarantees attention to quality.

Harvest Hub is a Social Enterprise Food Network which means it is driven by the passion of its founding and current members to bring equity and provide fairness for the farmer and the purchaser. The profit motive is balanced by the desire to be a force for good in our local communities. The expanding network of Harvest Hubs enables communities to control their food supply and reduce the oligopoly, the total control of your food supply and their reliance on big supermarkets.

Help us to celebrate this time – so many founding members together with new Harvest Hub arrivals. Let us celebrate a number of things.

Tell the Sydney community, tell your friends that there is an alternate way to purchase groceries – fresh, flavoursome and intriguing. Tell them that providing a good and equable living for farming families is a must. Let them know that reducing waste, packaging and giving to others binds a community together.

Let them know how this can be done.

That a local Hub has a Hubster who lovingly packs your bag and cares. Enjoy the feast, the conversation with friends and family knowing that you are making a difference.

Happy 5th Birthday to us all  – the Harvest Hub community.
Let’s celebrate together. Tell a Friend.Bring on a member between 9 October and before the 31 October and we will credit your account $10. And they will receive 50% off their membership fee. Ask your friend to quote your name and Code:BLG

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