Old Mill Road BioFarm

Old Mill Road BioFarm, Kirsti Wilkinson and Fraser Bayley

Old Mill Road BioFarm at Turlinjah is a family run business, with Kirsti and Fraser at the heart of the operation. The produce that is sold at the SAGE Farmers Market has been mostly from a 2 acre paddock within the larger 60 acre farm, but recently a 3 acre block of river flats close to Moruya has been added to the mix.

Free range chickens for egg production, beef cattle and more recently pigs have their niches on the main property, but contribute only a small amount (some nutrients and cultivation services) to the productivity of the vegetable growing section. Compost, crop rotation and green manures drive the fertility here.

Planning and organisation (and a lot of hard physical labour) is the key to the success of Old Mill Road, and they are recognised as a leader in the field of small scale growing, not just in our region, but also increasingly beyond it. Their skills are in great demand from others wanting to enter this demanding but satisfying lifestyle.

As Fraser says “If we can show that, say, 3 acres including a large dam is sufficient for a viable and sustainable family farm, then our towns can be surrounded by a ring of small farms that provide a good proportion of their food.”

Finding the right scale for every crop and operation is fundamental to small farms. Free range egg production is a good example, as small growers are in a marketplace dominated by industrial scale enterprises, and margins are very tight.

Old Mill Road BioFarm is a very photogenic place Winter is coming Irrigation comes from nearby dams What's up, doc? Carrots carrots carrots... The next crop of leeks is on the way And so are more cabbages Kirsti believes making the stall appealing by adding colour is important Having the extra land near town now makes it easier to rest areas of the garden Hand tools feature prominently in this garden Don't like sprouts? Great! More for the rest of us Aquaponics is more a hobby, but it still has to pay its way At the top of the aquaponics sytem is a tub of watercress Wicking beds + aquaponics = crops that previously struggled in the ground The workshop slash intern kitchen slash vegie prep area It's all in the planning Kirsti raises all the seedlings here, but at this time of year they're mostly in the ground The future of eggs as part of the product range is currently under review Gratuitous chook shot In 2014, they bought a block of land on the edge of Moruya It's nice flat land with good soil, but it's prone to flooding The block is [-- this --] close to the highway After losing earlier crops to flooding, this broccoli will be the first harvest from here The broader scale nature of planting requires a little mechanical labour saving Replace vehicle on left with vehicle on right Irrigation here is still a work in progress Being close to town presents an entirely different set of problems to deal with The vision of growing food on the edge of town is becoming reality Like -- seriously -- right on the edge of town

There are continual trials of different crops and techniques at the farm. A large bed of asparagus will come out this year because it was not viable at the scale they were growing. The new aquaponics system that feeds the soft herbs, watercress, salad greens and truly delicious crunchy celery, is still being refined. It produced a good crop of trout which will be smoked for home consumption during the year.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have two markets that we can sell our produce in Moruya,” said Kirsti. “The Saturday market gave us our start, but the SAGE Farmers Market now accounts for over 70% of our sales. We love the fact that we can pick in the morning and sell out in an hour in the afternoon”.

The addition of some river flat land near Moruya has allowed a large part of the Turlijah farm to be rested during winter. “There will be a big green manure sowing over most of the beds in the next few weeks”, said Fraser. “This will get our soils in top condition for the spring and summer crops.”

The diversity of commercial crops that are grown at Old Mill Road is remarkable. Fraser believes that some more specialisation may happen in the future, but that it will require more local growers to ensure that the right food mix is always available.

For Kirsti, one of the main joys of the farm is at mealtimes. “I just love walking through the garden in the afternoon and letting the produce decide what is for dinner.”

Produce Sold

Vegetables
Artichoke
Asparagus
Beetroot
Broad Beans
Carrots
Garlic
Lettuce
Peas
Silverbeet
Spinach
Zucchini Flowers
Poultry
Eggs

Herbs & spices
Coriander
Parsley

Other
Flowers


Vegetables
Artichoke
Beans
Beetroot
Capsicum
Carrots
Cherry Tomatoes
Corn
Cucumber
Edamame
Eggplant
Garlic
Leeks
Lettuce
Onions
Pumpkin
Shallots
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Zucchini Flowers
Fruit
Rockmelon
Watermelon

Poultry
Eggs

Herbs & spices
Basil
Coriander
Parsley

Other
Flowers


Vegetables
Beans
Beetroot
Cabbage
Capsicum
Carrots
Cherry Tomatoes
Chinese Cabbage
Corn
Cucumber
Eggplant
Leeks
Lettuce
Parsnip
Pumpkin
Shallots
Silverbeet
Spinach
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Fruit
Rockmelon
Watermelon

Poultry
Eggs

Herbs & spices
Basil
Coriander
Parsley


Vegetables
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chinese Cabbage
Leeks
Lettuce
Pumpkin
Silverbeet
Spinach
Poultry
Eggs