The concept for All Foods Farm occurred when the small block in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, where we (John and Kirsty) lived, became increasing limited in size for all the fruit trees, animals and vegetables that we wanted to grow and keep. So there was a joint decision made for a downshifting change to rural living, while also making a smaller ecological footprint on our finite resources, which we are both passionate about. After several years looking for the ideal property that ticked a lot of the ‘want’ boxes we settled on the 14 acres of land in the small town of Buffalo, between Meeniyan and Fish Creek. Knowing that we wanted to grow a range of fruit and vegetables without to much difficulty, where the climate of South Gippsland, with it’s high rainfall and good soils was ideally suited.
Over the past decade we have carefully selected a range of fruit tress, primarily apples, plums and pears. These trees were grafted by John and grown on the property and a small orchard with just over 300 trees and growing, has now been established. There are also a selection of other varieties of fruit in smaller quantities, such as blueberries, figs, fejioa, citrus, apricots, nectarines, cherries and currents. As many of these trees have been propagated on the property, it has allowed them to be ideally acclimatized to the area. Also, I have been able to breed a range of rare breeds poultry, something that was impossible in Melbourne with it’s no roosters rule. This meant John has had many building projects to undertake, including over 8 chicken breeding pens. Presently he is completing construction of the straw bale home that they will be living in, this has been a major project, but has been moving ahead during 2017 as they have both permanently located themselves to Buffalo, after commuting back and forth for over 10 years.
John also keeps over 20 beehives on the property and at a friends property in Tarwin Lower, these help pollinate the orchard and the honey is sold at the local Buffalo General Store, and is extremely popular.
After the completion of the straw bale home, a small shop front will be added to the property for local and tourist traffic during peak picking seasons. This should be just in time for the young orchard to be fully established and a large range of over 40 different apples, 20 different plums, 20 different pears, berries, figs, eggs, honey and some vegetables to be sold at the farm gate of All Foods Farm.