The beautiful Beerwah valley is the home of Sandy Creek Organic Farm a wonderful mixed farm that grows and sells fruit, nuts and vegetables through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system. Les Nicholls moved from a small farm in Glasshouse, to the fertile soils at the base of the Glasshouse Mountains in Beerwah 7 years ago. He saw it as the perfect location to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables throughout the season to service a growing membership base of over 100 Sunshine Coast based members where every week they receive a box of goodies grown from the farm.
Les and his partner, Marji wanted to create an organic farm that was sustainable, efficient and time effective for everyone. Essentially the system that they have created is a ‘meeting of the consumer and the producer’ which is the ethos behind CSA systems, and everything else they do is designed around what people eat and what is seasonally available.
The farm adapts its produce to cater to the season, which has seen Les explore less traditional seed stocks to find varieties that suits the climate and varying seasons. While the summer season brings okra, corn, capsicum, tomatoes, and Egyptian spinach or malakhu, winter focuses more on root crops such as radishes and turnips as well as other winter favouring crops; cabbages, broccoli, snow peas etc. The Queensland summer doesn’t suit a lot of traditional greens so that is where some of the Asian greens such as pak choy and tat soi come in; they are not traditional but are more suited to our subtropical climate.
Staples such as potatoes will weather the winter well but stocks come to an end in January, so crops are substituted with sweet potatoes; that carries them through to when potatoes again have more favourable growing conditions. In the same way Les uses several varieties of carrot to carry them through the season, using a less traditional, more heat tolerant variety to carry them through the summer months – while the varieties used are less traditional in a modern mass cropping sense – it is traditional in its truest form; back to seasonal cropping systems – the way it is supposed to be. It allows you to actually taste the difference of the season, which is especially true in winter when the slower growth rate of all the produce allows it to develop a better, greater flavour than that it would have in the much faster growing summer months.
Now, if you would like enjoy Sandy Creek Organic Farm’s fabulous certified organic produce this is how it works:
– Download membership form
– Become a member and then every week you can pick up your box of goodies from the farm.
If you are not from the Beerwah area, get together with friends and organise a pick up car pool, or call Les and he will let you know if there are any pick up points in your area, or even better create your own pick up point so your area can be serviced as well.
Each box contains a liberal combination of vegetables, depending on seasonality it can include potatoes, sweet potatoes, cooking greens and vegetables (beans, snow peas, pak choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots etc), salad vegetables (lettuce varieties, tomatoes, cucumbers etc), fruit, herbs, ginger, turmeric – whatever is currently in season. It is fabulous value – I defy anyone to be able to shop for organic produce and pay less than this for the generous selection that you get.
For anyone who is passionate about good, fresh and local food, I encourage you to explore this fabulous way of buying fresh fruit and vegetables. What I find especially great, is this system of purchasing encourages you to eat seasonally, something you tend to lose sight of when you purchase from stores due to the over-availability of out of season produce bought in from elsewhere.
For more information about Sandy Creek Organic Farm, membership and pick up locations contact Sandy Creek Organics.