Deri-Anne and Tim Wyatt practise re-localisation. They have moved from the city to follow a dream and a philosophy that many today are calling re-localisation. They ‘live locally’, on Angelica Organic Farm, in the fullest sense ie
For just 4 seasons Deri-Anne and Tim have been farming. They grow gourmet organic garlic – soon to be available online – plus other beautiful seasonal vegies, on a small farm near Daylesford, Victoria. They have ‘In Conversion’ organic certification status and are ‘working fervently’ towards achieving full organic certification by the end of 2010.
“It’s our keen desire to see locally grown, in-season, chemical-free, non-genetically manipulated food become the norm once again in our daily lives, in addition to reducing food miles. We promote a meaningful relationship between growers and consumers and are eager to encourage people, including school children to grow their own backyard vegies and we support the renaissance of village life which seems to be blooming via the sharing of surplus backyard crops at ‘food swap meets’ in communities all over the country.”
From day one the Wyatts produce has been lovingly grown, by natural, chemical-free means.
In his former life, Tim was a professional chef in leading Melbourne restaurants, where he acquired a love of working with high quality produce and realised the joy to be shared in supporting the nature and perpetuity of small, diversified family farms from direct and fair trade.
Deri-Anne also worked in highly regarded restaurants where she fine-tuned her huge interest in the beauty of fresh foods, her love of cooking with fine, naturally grown ingredients and her knowledge of healthy nutrition. Her qualification in Traditional Chinese Medicine deepened her knowledge of healthy nutrition.
The pair embraces the ‘slow food’ movement, decry factory farming and the fast food culture, and are devoted to maintaining food diversity and authentic flavours with mixed cropping of gourmet garlic, seasonal vegetables, heirloom (old fashioned, open-pollinated) tomatoes, culinary herbs and during summer a few cut flowers.
Angelica Organic Farm fare is served in cafes, restaurants and provedores in and around Daylesford and sold in Daylesford and in Melbourne at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, Albert Park Gasworks, Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Markets, Daylesford Farmers’ Market AND www.rfm.net.au .
Angelica Organic Farm currently has ‘In Conversion’ organic certification status, (Lic. No. ACO 10966IC), NOT full organic certification as yet, though Deri-Anne and Tim have never used chemicals in their growing. The initial certification process takes a few years to complete and they have about one 1 year to go to earn the full certification. They are certified by Australian Certified Organic (ACO), the certifying arm of the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA).
Deri-Anne and Tim have a serious passion for garlic which is why they chose to focus on growing ‘gorgeous, gourmet garlic’. Australia imports at least 90% of the garlic on store shelves from China plus a certain amount from Argentina and Mexico. The pair realises
“Australians are ‘gagging’ for more good quality, clean, Aussie garlic instead of the cheap, inferior, chemically treated imported stuff largely available.”
Being committed to biological growing for the health of the land and people, and for a high quality Australian food supply, Deri-Anne and Tim also wanted to ‘fight back’ against the dominance of this cheap, inferior, toxin laden imported garlic, which they believe has pretty much destroyed the Australian garlic growing sector over the past ten years or so.
Affinity for the plants or foods Angelica Organic Farm grows is very important and growing garlic is one of the best and most enjoyable moves the pair believes they have ever made.
The red, volcanic soils of the Central Victorian Highlands and the long, cold wet winters are ideal growing conditions for rich, piquant garlic. Both Wyatts have personally appreciated the health benefits of garlic, they find it indispensable in the kitchen and it suits their re-localiser philosophy of being at one with your life work and loving each variety of plant that’s grown, as a lot of time and hard work is invested in growing the produce. This of course helps ensure they grow the best produce possible.
Growing garlic commercially it seems is very labour intensive, particularly without the use of pesticide/herbicides. At Angelica Organic Farm it is grown almost entirely by hand – planting, mulching, weeding, harvesting, curing, trimming, cleaning, plaiting and packing by hand.
Today Deri-Anne says we have to ask ‘how is our food grown, at what price and who paid the real price?’ A lot of Australians really value good garlic and so Australian garlic is highly sort after, being in short supply due to the import dominance. Growing practices in China are ‘notoriously dubious’ and Australians have little say in the farming practices of other countries, the levels and types of pesticides and fertilisers used or the wages and conditions of their workers.
“I really love making the new seasons garlic plaits and having that extra aesthetic connection with what we have just spent 9 months growing. We get excited with that added connection to our harvest. It is not just about growing food for us but also that deep relationship with nature’s rhythms and to the generations of people who have done the same over the centuries before us, as well as sharing this cherished meaningful activity and conversations with a close friend who helps us during this time – a simple daily life and/or workplace pleasure largely lost in our society today. We feel very proud selling an attractive, hand-crafted product to people and having an attractive display at our farmers’ market stalls. (We do of course sell loose cloves like people normally buy as well as the plaits and grappes (decorative bunches).”
These are all important reasons which inspired the move towards focusing on garlic.
Why Did We Decide To Establish Our Website www.angelicaorganicfarm.com.au/?
Angelica farm also has mixed cropping of other seasonal vegetables, for example
The new website homepage will run a regular produce listing ‘towards’ farm gate sales and letting people know what they are likely to have at farmers’ markets each week.
Seasonal vegetables and herbs are generally available from late spring through to late autumn (with very little possible during winter. Summer is the most abundant period with the greatest variety of crops. The overall farm plan has shifted focus towards growing more of less types of produce with garlic being the mainstay
Angelica Organic Farm is not a textbook farming tale. It began in 2006 – after ten years talking – with zero farming experience but lots of passion for a longstanding dream. There had been a lot of research into organic growing, a background of home vegie and herb patches and lots of enthusiasm to create an honest, authentic living, in harmony with nature, their community and themselves.
The farm was born on a couple of acres of leased land in Daylesford, Central Victoria. The Wyatt’s first season, the summer of 2006-2007, was the middle of the worst drought Australia has seen in decades – but they ‘just had to get started!’
Despite the many and varied challenges, they learned and achieved a lot with their small test plot, their produce supplying local weekly vegetable boxes and being well received by local chefs and customers at their weekend farmers’ market stalls.
In August 2007 the farm was relocated to a larger property in Glenlyon (10 minutes from Daylesford), which provides water security and has enabled the farm’s development in all ways. The move meant starting from scratch but it was a good investment and they haven’t looked back.
The name is positive and pretty and conjures up a sense of heavenliness, protection and wellbeing. Angelica is a highly revered herb in many cultures throughout the ages and is known as somewhat of a panacaea medicinally. It is said to imbue a feeling of protection from evil and guidance from spiritual beings such as angels, according to legend.
According to legend, Angelica is effective against evil spirits and witchcraft and imbues a feeling of protection and guidance from spiritual beings, including angels.
It’s also believed to facilitate a link between the ethereal world and the grounded earth providing in part some of the inner strength and stamina required for ursuing one’s life destiny. All this suited Deri-Anne and Tim perfectly as they embarked on their life’s dream in starting an organic farm.
Commercially speaking, starting with an ‘A’ has added benefits when it comes to advertising and marketing placement!
I’m looking forward to being able to buy gourmet garlic online!