Fairymount Fine Foods
Jandowae 1.5hour west of Toowoomba, 3 hour west of Brisbane.
Jandowae was originally established as a timber cutter town and at its height it had 3 sawmills in town. The last sawmill closed about 8 years ago. Every second year Jandowae holds the Timber town festival to celebrate this heritage. The Next Festival will be in 2021.
Dairying was also important, especially the production of cream for butter. As with the timber industry, the last dairy closed in about 2003. The country around Jandowae is used for mixed farming enterprises with grain production as well as grazing.
We chose this area primarily for the quality of the soil and grass growth for our stud cattle enterprise. Another important consideration was the fact that this country is free of cattle ticks. Cattle ticks are the vector for a number of diseases that are fatal for cattle.
Mushrooms are grown in a controlled environment so we can grow them anywhere. We are taking advantage of the intense sunshine in outback Queensland to generate electricity to offset energy needs and our carbon footprint.
I am a first-generation farmer. After School I studied Science and worked in Agricultural research. This gave me the bug and I wanted to apply some of the theories that I researched in a practical way.
My Father is a retired captain in the merchant navy and mum, now retired as well, taught History and Japanese and worked as an Australian ambassador at Expo 70 in Japan. Dad and I purchased the farm, at Jandowae, in partnership in 2001.
Our family had started breeding cattle on an 8-acre hobby farm at Daybro, but soon out grew the property, so we expand our cattle enterprise by moving west, over the range to Jandowae. Our new property “Fairymount” was cattle tick free so we could run out cattle without using toxic chemical tick control.
The fact that our family is new to farming has given me the opportunity to farm in different ways. I am not stuck in doing something a certain way because my father and my father’s father have done it like that.
I have used camels and goats to keep weeds down in my grazing rotations. I use multi-species grazing to suppress parasites and weeds. I use other sustainable farming practices such as IPM, Integrated pest management, to keep pests and weeds at bay, rather than chemical control.
Sustainability and environmental consciousness have been a fundamental part of the decision-making process in farm management decisions.
At the end of school, I studied science at the University of Queensland. I majored in Botany and Entomology, (Plants and insects). I was interested in the genetics of plants and how they interacted with insect pests and viral diseases.
After I graduated, I worked in different research labs developing new crop varieties that were resistant to viruses. After working in plant genetic research, for the best part of 10 years, funding was dropped so I decided to focus my genetic knowledge to breed select lines of Heritage Angus cattle.
These cattle had been forgotten about by mainstream beef production but they contain genetic traits that I believe will be important as we tackle climate change and its impact on agriculture.
Living and working on the farm I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I have some downtime, I enjoy fishing and target shooting. I have not been lucky enough to find a partner or have kids so at the moment I am single.
If I look at modern society, I have always been astonished at the amount of waste that humanity produces. I have always seen waste products as a resource rather than pollution.
Mushrooms can use the waste we generate to produce food. As we experience some of the hottest temperatures on record we need to live more sustainably if humanity is going to survive.