A northern Victorian couple are growing almonds, olives and vegetables with a farmgate system that allows them to manage the process from go to whoa.LAURA GRIFFIN February 17, 2014 9:05am
When Maria and Trinity Richards bought a property in Bearii three decades ago, the only thing growing was a big sugar gum, which inspired the couple to call it Aintree — from the old Scottish word ‘‘ain’’ meaning ‘‘one’’ or ‘‘one’s own’’.
Now there are thousands of trees and other plants on the 18
Vertical integration means the Richards retain control over their product.
They process and sell the nuts, fruit and vegetables, as well as the cold spun honey they collect from 60 hives of bees — the insects also pollinate the trees.
People can sample and buy the produce and value-added products — which range from infused honeys, dukkahs, nougats, olive oils and preserves to almond and goat milk soaps — at the Aintree Almonds and Apiary farm gate shop, which is open Monday to Friday.
Because it is a working farm, it is suggested people make appointments.
Mrs Richards said farm gate shops and farmers’ markets — Aintree has a stall at four or more markets every weekend — were great places for producers and consumers to interact.
‘‘We continue to have control over what we harvest and produce,’’ she said.
‘‘You get a sense of achievement when you see your regulars coming up to the stall.
‘‘And customers can know where their food is coming from and that it is fresh.’’
They also run guided farm tours and a bed and breakfast, host functions and sell produce to co-operatives and organic foodstores.
The Richards said being a stand alone orchard made it easier for them to farm organically.
They do some companion planting, fertilise the trees with a fish and sea kelp product through the computerised sprinkler system and plough organic matter into the soil in winter.
The farm has a 35
Mrs Richards said the almond and olive trees were quite resilient.
‘‘They have been through drought and through floods,’’ she said.
One of the biggest challenges on the farm is to harvest the crops before birds eat them.
During the almond harvest that starts in late January and runs for two to three weeks, the Richards hire casual staff and get help from the Willing Workers On Organic Farms organisation.
Because the trees are not watered for a month before harvest, the nuts dry out and when the trees are shaken — in this case by hand — the nuts drop to the ground.
Mrs Richards said during the protracted heat, the nuts had dried out quickly.
They started harvesting about 6.15
The nuts are then collected in bins and cracked as needed to ensure freshness.
Rich River's Ben Docking capitalised on local knowledge to take out the Goulburn Valley District Golf champion of champions event at his home course.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Timbercutter Doug Rosenow is hoping people will listen before it is too late.
Goulburn-Murray Water has been filling in the decommissioned irrigation channel by the Northern Hwy, just out of Rochester.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
It was a triumphant homecoming for God's Own gelding.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Fiona Bradshaw and the Planet X team have raised more than $5000.
2013/14 Annual Report received this week finds overall finances are ‘‘fair and improving’’ at Moira Shire Council.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
A Tongala dairy farm with three robotic milkers sold at auction for $1.4 million last week.
Benalla’s Alice Martin has been awarded the prestigious title of Regional Youth Volunteer of the Year as part of the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Awards.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.