by Elize Strydom
The Peach Farm
Lovers of life on the land, Edwina and Ray Cameron moved from Longreach to Mororo and bought an established peach farm. They found a warm and welcoming community and planned to quietly enjoy the tree-change with their four children. When a spontaneous social media invitation brought hundreds of visitors to the property, The Peach Farm was born. Keen to share their unexpected success with the locals, the Camerons began collaborating with Clarence Valley growers, producers and creatives at every turn.
“We’d love to host woodfired pizza nights,” Edwina Cameron says excitedly. “Outdoor movies and workshops, too. Oh and dinners at long tables in the middle of the orchard with food made by local chefs!”
Edwina and her husband Ray are bursting with ideas for The Peach Farm and it’s not hard to see why. We gaze out over row after row of pruned fruit trees as the sun begins to dip behind the hills, casting long shadows over the green grass. 16-year-old Oliver can be heard sanding wood, while 20-year-old Meg arranges peach blossoms in jars and places them on a bench ready to be sold the following day. Poppy the dachshund is trying to hop up on an all-terrain vehicle being driven by a visiting backpacker and Ray is chasing a goat that has escaped from its enclosure. Lambs are bleating in the distance and a couple of joeys are hopping around the field, tummies full after Edwina fed them by hand when I first arrived. I can’t help but smile and she says that’s a common reaction.
“People get here and I see their surprise and amazement,” Edwina laughs. “Then I watch them begin to relax and hours later they don’t want to leave.”
When Edwina put up a social media post inviting the public to come and pick her excess peaches, she didn’t expect much of a response. Suddenly 80 people were turning up each day and her Mororo farm was full of delighted families gorging on golden fruit, juice running down their arms.
“We let children pat and feed the animals and then someone suggested we set up a coffee van,” Edwina remembers. “It just grew from there; it was not planned at all!”
Intentional or not, something very special is being created and the Camerons are bringing the community along with them. Collaborations are evident at every turn.
“We believe it’s better to give than to take,” Edwina says without skipping a beat. “Helping other people out is a win-win.”
Rather than looking beyond the region for suppliers, the Camerons are focussing on what’s available locally. They’ve seen the abundance in their own backyard and want to share it with others.
“We have everything we need here right here in this Valley, every single thing!” Edwina says with a smile on her face.
Food that is grown on the farm ends up on the cafe menu and whatever isn’t at hand is supplied by a long list of local producers: Woody’s Tomatoes, veggies from Oum’s market garden Germinated, edible flowers and micro herbs from Avyssa at Little Things Grown and organic bread from Ashby Sourdough. Across from the food van you’ll find the Local Shed featuring ceramics by Nikki from Waggle Dance Farm, macrame by Mel from MeCo Macrame, hand-painted stainless steel picnic ware by Picnic Folk, hats and beeswax wraps by Michelle at Gecko’s New Tail, TuvasKitchen granola, Solum Farm essential oils and homewares from Maclean’s Heart of Space.
The food van officially opened in late April; now run by local lad Klay, the focus is on colourful and wholesome fare. Think pulled pork tacos with corn, red cabbage, smashed avocado and sour cream, chicken and quinoa tabbouleh wraps and bean nachos followed by gluten free almond cake, vegan caramel slice, Nutella brownies and a scone or two. Edwina says head barista Clarissa Cannon uses coffee from Old Quarter in Ballina and she’s had nothing but positive feedback from caffeine aficionados. You will be greeted with a beautiful smile from Tammy who is proving irreplaceable on The Peach Farm, and made feel welcome from the moment you arrive.
Peach picking season starts around September and runs through to November but the turn out on wet winter days has shown that The Peach Farm is popular year-round. When asked what draws people here, Edwina describes it as a sanctuary.
“It’s somewhere people can just be,” she explains. “Parents don’t have to worry about the kids breaking anything or getting run over in the street. They can run wild then get back in the car and fall asleep!”
“The connection people have with the animals is so special, too,” Edwina continues. “They just give off that beautiful feeling.”
Underpinned by the Camerons’ warmth, generosity and passion, this unique Clarence Valley experience has become an instant favourite with locals and is guaranteed to draw visitors from far and wide.
The Peach Farm is something we can all get excited about – meet you there!
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