No, not that one. I'm talking about the Adams' of Bob's Farm; otherwise know as Port Stephens' hotspot for avocados
I recently took my old mate (a Nikon D3100) out for a trip to their farm, only about an hour's drive from the Central Coast. I've been working and learning from farmers in the area for over five years now. The original owners of the land, who purchased the plot around the 1960s, were told that avocados wouldn't grow this far south of Queensland. Time and time again Don and Coral Kafer (the first to farm these beauties) were told that it was a fool's errand. But, then, as if by some wondrous miracle, one of those initial six trees began to fruit; and then another; and another; until every one of them bore delicious spray-free avocados.
Over the years and decades, the Kafers expanded their operation and planted tree after tree; dealing primarily in hass avocados but also finding success with lesser-known varieties such as the sharwill - one that has proved very popular even to this day. One thing they found, however, was that conventional methods of selling their produce to the big supermarket changes just wasn't making ends meet. They had the fruit, they had the quantity, but by the time it had been picked, graded, and taken to the big chains, there was very little to go around.
It was after years of struggling that they decided to cut out the middle man and deal direct with farmers markets, attending when they could and selling direct. With Farmers Markets now a part of their regular routine, things definitely saw an upturn. But, the work is hard, and time is fickle, and eventually it came time for the Kafer's to sub-divide and sell their massive legacy to the next generation of young growers.
Enter, the Adams Family. Jamie and Yvonne purchased a part of the farm from the Kafers and began their farming journey, and with new generations come new methodologies; ones that don't always mesh with a more traditional approach.
I spoke with Jamie about pruning various sections of the farms, and how that differs from more traditional approaches. While driving around the somewhat idyllic plot with his wife, two kids, and two dogs we talked about how difficult the decision was in the initial stages of starting things up. Whilst it is said that pruning will help the overall health and quality of the trees and the fruit, it does unfortunately lead to a slighter yield seasonally. However, after sending clippings to the local university, it was decided that the road less travelled was the one for them.
Three years on and this tour of the farm has shown a remarkable improvement in the health of the trees and the quality of the fruit. What's more is that pruning also circumvents the need for use of chemicals. Our customers notice the difference, too; the flesh is creamy, the salt levels are perfect; and the avocados last EVEN when they're cut. waste, provenance, and exposure to chemicals are forefront in the mind of ethical shoppers, as it is with Roaming Fresh when it comes to sourcing produce.
This year is expected to be a bumper season, lasting longer than last year's somewhat shorter one. Towards the end of the year we'll hopefully see the delightful sharwill come through, and next year should see a more robust season when it comes to the feurte (a new variety for the Adams which was only ready for harvest this year).
Come and visit us at our regular farmers market, or place a delivery for Fridays at the Booch Bar - our new weekly hangout!