There’s nothing like sitting out in an open paddock for an hour or so to help you appreciate one of the many aspects to being a farmer. Hot. Hot. Hot! It might not register that high on the temperature gauge here in North West Tassie, but the sun sure does have some bite in it!
Sitting on a hay bale with a good hundred or so other folk we listened enthralled to the Kindred Organics story before some took a tour of the paddocks as well.
Five years ago Lauran and Henriette Damen planted their first patch of quinoa on their farm in Kindred, North West Tasmania and harvested it by hand.
Now they are the only commercial quantity growers of quinoa in Australia.
They had to actively look for markets and had to convince people Tassie could grow it.
Attending a food festival in Melbourne there was a definite interest from chefs who noticed both the leaves and grain.
Lauran and Henriette quickly realised that both storage and packaging were going to be of the utmost importance when marketing the quinoa. People wanted to know about the product and about the people who grew it.
It took a little longer for their quinoa to take off in Tasmania. At the Sustainaible Living Festival in Penguin a few years back they had a chat with Matthew Evans
who was guest speaker. A year later he contacted them again. Six months later the film crew from his show Gourmet Farmer
were on site in Kindred.
Now there is world wide interest in their products.
As farmers Lauren says “there is a need to learn new ways to grow new products. It is a risk and expensive but worth it.”
They converted their farm to organic after some “sneaky peaks” at other organic farms and field days.
They made the changes step by step requiring more management and many more decisions to make. They explained that there are many more risks with organics. Weed control if machinery breaks down. The impact of the weather.
As a certified organic farm it is inspected every year to retain its certification.
At Kindred Organics the paddocks are half a year under clover and spend two years in crop. The keep own seed, with no mixing to ensure the purity and organic status of what they grow. They also farm organic meat, spelt, milling wheat, oats, linseed and adzuki beans.
Last year’s quinoa crop was hand hoed by 20 pairs of hands!
Kindred Organics also process all of their crops on farm. They clean and roll oats so they are consumer ready.
Their products are sold via retailers, as there is simply no time to attend Farmer’s markets.
Here’s cheers to some genuinely lovely, innovative, entrepreneurial Tasmanians!