It is now mid-May 2010 and we’re about to embark on a family adventure by leaving our comfortable life on the NSW Central Coast (where I have lived most of my life) and sell up everything to move to Tasmania to become hazelnut farmers.
But this story began a long time ago, before Harvey and I were married and had our two boys. I was living in England when I first met Harvey. He’d been researching hiring an allotment from his local council in a bid to carve out his own piece of earth and grow some produce. I excitedly told him we’d done the same in our back yard when I grew up and how much better everything tasted when it came from your own garden.
Harvey didn’t end up taking an allotment, but his interest in the land had been sparked. After many discussions about our future, we decided we wanted a family and my homeland, Australia, was the place to do it.
We came back to Australia, ready for a new adventure, in mid 2005. Harvey was seduced by the space, even in the cities, and soon started talking more about his dream to have a farm. We had Noah in 2006 and after living in a typical suburban three-bedroom home on a 400sqm block with our very active boy we decided more land was needed. So we moved to a bigger block with fruit trees and plenty of space for Noah to run and in 2009 Ethan joined our family. Together the boys tore around the back yard, where we had some farm touches – chickens, fruit trees and vegie patches.
It was here that Harvey tested his self-sufficiency skills and grew a lot of our produce including corn, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, lemons, figs, apples and the list goes on. This home in Wamberal was also where Harvey launched his DIY vegie patch business www.mygreenpatch.com.au.
But the dream to be even more self sufficient was in the back of his mind and we kept revisiting the idea of owning a farm, where we could partly live off our own labours and allow our sons the freedom to grow up with fresh air in their lungs and understanding where their food really came from.
The gaps between these conversations about having a farm were closing, but what sort of farm would suit a family? I’m a journalist, blogger and PR consultant and Harvey’s work life was mostly in white-collar roles before he became the full-time carer for our sons last year. With two sons aged four and one, what could we do with our limited experience of the land – and where?
Answering this question also shows why it has taken us such a long time to make the decision to sell up and build our own farm.
We look forward to sharing our journey into farm life with you and hope you enjoy our adventures along the way.