Mixing production above Gerringong shores
Fiona and Adam Walmsley of Buena Vista farm, perched high above the shores of Gerringong, feel a change coming in the sea air. And after giving up their bustling city lives and relocating to the eight hectare property, they’re leading by example.
“We were in Sydney, and we realised what we really wanted to do was start a cooking school where people could connect with their food,” explains Fiona, whose family has owned Buena Vista farm since 1859. “Pick a tomato, turn it into passata. Milk a cow, turn it into cheese.”
Unsurprisingly, Buena Vista farm now boasts an impressive spread of homemade products that have been grown and produced on the property, from custards and stews to chutneys, jams, homemade pickles and poultry. The farm also plays host to regular ‘from scratch’ workshops, from learning how to make yoghurt to harvesting coffee.
“Being a farmer is like being part of an incredible open source network. It’s anti-competitive and there’s not many industries where you can honestly see that happening,” says Adam. “The market is far bigger than any one farm can monopolise, and it’s a much stronger argument to be collaborative with each other and growers and producers.”
For those considering making the change, Fiona and Adam have a simple piece of advice: “There is never a sensible time to start. It’s never going to make perfect sense to jump out of a city into a new venture in a regional area. You just have to find the courage, and you know what? At least we’ll eat well, even if we’re broke,” laughs Fiona.