Hayden Cridland’s family have been selling fresh fruit, pure fruit ice blocks and their home made Rainbow Fruit Flats – 100% dried fruit leathers – at local markets and farmers markets for more than a decade.
•Tell us how you make a Rainbow Fruit Flat?
Basically we process the ripe fruit, pour the puree into dehydration trays then and allow time for the moisture to be removed (8 + hours). It takes about a kilo of fruit puree to make four fruit flats. Because we use 100% pure fruit it makes the dehydration process more difficult, but we have learnt how to perfect them over the years.
•What do you enjoy about what you do?
I enjoy the sense of community in the markets we go to and the relationships we have with the people who buy our products and the other farmers around us. Although the days can be quite long, at the end of it all, we are working for ourselves. And I know with the goals we have set for our future we can make our farm a more sustainable and productive place.
•Biggest challenges you face as a farmer?
Pretty much everything. Farming is a wild and always changing operation. Every aspect such as weather, economy, crop health and maintenance are variables. There’s always work to be done.
•What question do you get asked most often at the market?
Probably “what does dragonfruit taste like?”, which is kind of a difficult question. The red dragonfruit have such a subtle unique flavour it’s difficult to compare to anything.
•Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you?
Growing up on the farm, when people asked me “are you going to work the farm and do markets when your older?” my answer was an overwhelming no. Now I’m older I understand how things work a bit more and I’m a much bigger part of the operation now then I have ever been. Although I still feel like a kid some days.
•What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I was a bartender for four years before this – I probably would’ve fallen back into hospitality. I’m really glad I’m doing this though.
• Find Rainbow Fruit Flats at the market every Friday.