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Newsletter: NSW Report

By Guy Hebblewhite, 2013 Scholar and Chair

December 2017

Dubbo AGM and Regional Tour – March

Dubbo was the location for our annual AGM in March.  There was good attendance with an introductory talk from Roger Fletcher – Fletcher International, standing in front of his grain handling facility. At the dinner we heard from 2015 Scholars Rob Peffer, Andrew Freeth, Bernadette Mortensen and Tom Quigley who relayed their individual travels, CSC and GFPs.

The next day we visited Little Big Dairy on the outskirts of Dubbo where they discussed their business plans whilst we sampled their flavoured milks!  We travelled to Warren to the tyre recycling business GDT, an amazing operation where they break old car tyres back into wire, crude and biochar. Following this, we visited Rosie’s Boutique Condiments, the brainchild of Rosie Turnbull (wife of Simon (2005 Sch)) where she was creating a unique honey mustard dressing for the kitchens of Australia.  We then moved onto the Auscott Gin at Warren where we were given a guided tour of the gin and a paddock talk on the latest varieties and techniques they were employing.

Central Coast Tour – November

Hunter Valley wine country was the location for the most recent NSW tour.  There was great attendance, particularly from recent and new Scholars.  We started at Tocal Ag College, with a notable bee course which was fascinating for those involved. We then ‘cracked on’ to “Just Been Laid” egg business operated by 2018 Scholar Sarah Sivyer at Eccleston. She intrigued everybody with the marketing of her new venture.

We then visited Scarborough Wine Company where Liz (1997 Sch) and Jerome Riley graciously gave us a great insight into their family business along with a sample of their very best drops.  In the evening, the Cellar Restaurant, Hunter Valley Gardens, put on a terrific meal and we heard from a range of speakers including Alex Hicks, new 2018 NSW scholarship investor from NSW DPI Young Farmers Business Program, Emma O’Flaherty (2018), and Sarah Sivyer (2018) on what they will be studying next year, Jessica Pitkin (2017) on her GFP and private study, Liz Riley (1997) on where her Nuffield journey has taken her since receiving her scholarship.

The next day we visited Wade (2015 Sch) and Nicky Mann’s (2014 Sch) Roses & Berries 2 Go Farm, which kicked off with breakfast, followed by a tour of the two greenhouses containing roses, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, ginger, kale, turmeric, dragon-fruit and figs along with a splurge at the farm shop.

It was then off to East Coast Juices, Kulnura – owned by Sam Lentini and his family.  An amazing family story from being citrus growers and now supplying McDonalds with their fresh juices.  This was followed by an extraordinary lunch at Bernadette Mortensen (2015 Sch) parent’s farm, ‘Palm Marie Farms; with free range broiler chickens and avocado orchard at Mangrove Mountain.

The final visit was Family Fresh Farms, Peats Ridge – a brand new five ha glasshouse project owned by Gerry Harvey (Harvey Norman) and built by Apex Greenhouse, growing hydroponic highwire cucumbers with a bio-gas boiler for heating. We were hosted by Patrick from Holland and Head Grower of the facility.

It was a fantastic tour with a massive thank you from all the NSW Executive and Scholars, especially Nicky and Wade Mann and Liz Riley for organising such a fantastic tour with a great variety of things to see.

Next year we will kick off with an AGM in Orange around March 2018 with the planning about to begin. This event is shaping up to be a cracker with our new investor the NSW DPI keen to be involved at every stage, including hosting some Ag Tech sessions at the new GATE facility.

Until then…Best Wishes to all for a happy and prosperous 2018 and beyond.

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