Rozie Cairns and David Window
Echo Valley Farm Springbrook
In what year did you start supplying to Food Connect?
Where is your farm/business located?
Springbrook Gold Coast
Which Aboriginal nation are you situated on?
What do you produce?
Certified Organic Kiwi Fruit - Hayward and Bruno varieties; Conventional chemical-free Kiwi Fruit - Dexter variety for Food Connect. Grass Fed Beef cattle and Dorper sheep for other conventional markets.
What methods and philosophies do you use?
Certified Organic, Chemical Free and sustainable agricultural practices followed.
When, how and why did you become a farmer/food-maker?
Rozie bought Echo Valley Farm Springrook in 2006 to follow a life long interest in farming and a dream of living in the country after becoming dissatisfied with city life. Echo Valley has been and still is a massive learning experience with managing and working the variety of activities required to keep the farm running sustainably. Echo Valley was one of the first farms on Springbrook and has always been a farm since the early 1900s - dairy, beef cattle, passionfruit, potatoes, pigs being some of the activities over the years. The kiwi fruit orchard was planted in the 1970s and is one of the oldest orchards in Australia. It had become very neglected and a decision had to be made whether to keep it going or let the cows in ....... the flavour of the fruit at first harvest made the decision easy! This orchard has never been pesticide sprayed, irrigated or netted making the decision to convert the orchard to certified organic a logical step in line with our chemical free philosophy. David has always been a farmer and grew up in Springbrook on a dairy farm and his family grew everything needed to survive. David and Rozie met through their common interest in growing good healthy real food and through Food Connect with David buying and Rozie selling!! We now live and work together here at Echo Valley to continually improve our farming techniques and work towards sustainable best practice agriculture across a range of production systems. We love what we do and hope others love what we produce.
What does a typical day look like for you?
5.30am start. Brekkie. Check and let out chickens, goats and sheep for the day. Check and feed any poddy lambs or calves. Check and feed our pig. Check and feed our horses. Walk dogs and check different areas of our property and the cattle in the different paddocks. Meet the farm team to discuss the day's work - everyday is different depending upon the season, the weather and what is in need of most urgent attention. General activities include daily farm stall top up, hand weed control across the whole farm, fencing, animal management and general maintenance. Specific Kiwi Fruit related activities include ongoing post and wire maintenance, mowing, harvesting, processing and selling the fruit, pruning and fertilising. We also have a Farmstay Guest House so there is always washing, cleaning, meeting and greeting guests and general maintenance. At 4.30pm each afternoon we bring in and feed our sheep, chickens and goats to be locked up for the night for protection from predators. Other animals such as poddy lambs or calves, horses, pig and cattle/weaners are also fed at this time. And then there is all the admin to do that keeps it all running .............
What do you love about what you do?
We love working on the land, being in the outdoors, growing good healthy chemical-free delicious food, taking care of our land, animals, environment, trees, water and wildlife, educating others in supporting local farms and businesses and we love meeting our customers and guests who enjoy what our farm has to offer.
Why do you choose to work with Food Connect?
We like Food Connect's philosophy and their vision for a fairer food system. Food Connect is ethical, supports local farmers, is fair with pricing and the people are great to work with.
What would you most like to see change in how consumers engage with their food?
We would like consumers to think more about local food and production, read food labels, see where food comes from, see what's in it, understand the impact of their choices and use less packaging. We encourage people to buy local as much as possible, after that Australian only to support Australian farmers and other businesses
With all the uncertainty that surrounds us at the moment one thing is for certain, disruption is here to stay - and we’re excited! Obviously I’m not talking about Covid, even though it certainly prised open some big fault lines.
So dear eater, before we all fall over the line and take a well deserved break, there are some momentous things that we are keen to double down on with your participation over the next little while.