Everest Farm

Eungella Farmer Matt Everest at his Mullumbimby Farmers Market stall

Eungella Farmer Matt Everest and niece Julia Bedin at his Mullumbimby Farmers Market stall

Local farmer Matt Everest always looks forward to winter. The weather is mild, pests are fewer and it’s a nice time to be outdoors picking, planting and looking after the crops.

“It’s my favourite time of year,” he said.

It’s also the most productive season on his farm at Eungella, west of Murwillumbah, and this year he’s looking forward to a bumper crop of winter veggies, including broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beetroot, cabbage and snow peas.

He says the recent floods impacted the farm, but thanks to the fine and mild weather afterwards, everything bounced back quickly.

“There would have been nothing worse than going into a wet winter after all that rain, but luckily we got this mild weather and it’s all grown really well,” he said.

It’s good news for shoppers at the market, where Matt has one of the market’s biggest and busiest stalls. His produce is always top quality and super-fresh, something the fifth generation farmer takes pride in.Everything is picked as fresh as it practically can be, which is often the morning before market day.

“I like to have my picking done by 9 o’clock. It’s the optimal time of the day while it’s cool because then it just gets down here (to the market) fresher,” he said.

Unlike big commercial growers, who can spray an entire paddock with chemicals ‘just in case’, Matt uses pesticides rarely and sparingly.

“We monitor our plants closely, if we do have a problem, we get onto it really early and then that requires very minimal use.”

He says there are very few problems in winter anyway: “You don’t have the insects and bugs you’d normally get in the warmer months, and your fungal diseases aren’t as severe through the winter as they would be in the summer. So as far as chemical use, it’s virtually eliminated.

He says it also helps that farmers market customers are more accepting of ‘imperfect’ produce.

“People tolerate a bit of grub in their corn. If people get used to little things like that, customers become less fussy and you don’t have to make everything perfect.”

• Find Everest Farm at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday.

 

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