Farmer rating (pending assessment by the PFA): AA
Supplying Food Connect since: 2004
Farm visited by Food Connect: Yes
Over fifty Food Connect subscribers and staff left Brisbane early one Saturday morning in a convoy of cars and vans, ready for the 2009 Winter farm tour. Our first stop was Kingaroy, where the Blanch family have been farming their land organically for sixty years. We were greeted by three generations of farmers, who were keen to welcome us on to their farm, and to get us out into the onion and carrot fields so that we could get some dirt on our hands.
They took us on a tour of their farm, which included an impromptu weeding competition for the kids, and the chance to pull up some very sweet carrots and to munch them straight from the soil. Then we headed over to the peanut shed for a picnic morning tea.
The Blanch family have the only certified organic peanut farm in Australia, and are the people behind the amazing Green Acre’s peanut butter that you may have tried. We arrived at the wrong time of year to see the peanut plants growing, but Evan and Lois and their family more than made up for it with a slide show of the lifecycle of their peanut plants, and lots of peanuts to sample.
Then they talked to us about their journey into organic farming, which Reg, Evan’s dad describes as being the ‘best decision, farming wise’ he ever made. Commercial peanuts are one of the most heavily sprayed crops, and before switching to organics he had been suffering from asthma, which may have been due to chemical exposure.
They also let us in on some of the secrets of growing beautiful carrots (special tip from the experts: to keep your carrots growing straight make sure you grow them in plenty of soft loosely packed soil – as soon as the growing carrots hit a hard patch in the soil they will bend around it).