One of the things we LOVE about our farm is the fabulous people who visit, for one reason or another.

Our lives have been enriched over the years by pick-your-own and CSA customers, volunteers, employees, students, and workshop attendees. Plus, of course, our fabulous coop members.

We love that so many people are attracted to the farm for many different reasons. Unsurprisingly, it all centres around food!

For some people it’s supporting local food systems, for others it’s picking fruit or learning how to grow their own.

Farmers helping farmers

Some of our favourite visitors a few years ago were farmers themselves.

Penny and Paul had said goodbye to their own farm but couldn’t quite tear themselves away from farming altogether.

Instead, they decided to put their time, energy, and love into helping other farmers. They came to help Ant Wilson, who was running the orchard on our farm at the time as Tellurian Fruit Gardens.

Ant started his farming career helping out on Penny and Paul’s farm, so they wanted to return the favour.

They enjoyed the experience so much they were moved to write this blog post…

Penny and Paul’s story (in their own words…)

We—Penny Kothe and Paul McKinnon—are former owners of Caroola Farm,  in the NSW Southern Tablelands. We’ve been helping out at Tellurian Fruit Gardens for the past month (which is really exciting, as our farm was the first farm Ant ever worked on).

We sold our farm at the end of 2018. Now we’re on the road helping those in need in rural and regional areas – follow us at 

What is LoadsOfRRR’s? “Rural, regional, remote, relief, respite, on the road” – seriously, loads of R words we can use and we could not pick just one or two…” says Penny.

To both of us, regional and rural areas are about community, building community, and keeping community.

“We have driven through too many small towns in our travels where the shops are empty and the street devoid of people,” says Paul.

Our future plans are to travel Australia and help those in rural areas in any way we can.

Jack and Jill of all trades

We have varied backgrounds, but most recently running Caroola Farm, a certified organic farm based on permaculture and holistic management principles in the NSW Southern Tablelands farming small numbers of sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, market gardening, fruit orchard and preserves.

We also have a huge range of business skills from finance through to marketing and customer service along with experience in repairs, equipment, maintenance, and small building projects.

Paul and Ant sorting plums

Since arriving in mid-February, we have been helping with picking, packing, preserving, and pruning fruit. We’ve also been packing the CSA boxes for Ant at Tellurian Fruit Gardens.

Penny preparing fruit for preserving

Learning about the coop

We certainly got more than we bargained for. The property is also home to a variety of other enterprises under the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op banner.

Katie pruning apricot trees

It’s been really exciting for us to see another property, albeit set up differently, running a market garden, fruit enterprise, setting up a micro-dairy, producing fruit trees, and online education.

We think this is the future of small-scale farming and it’s great to see a model being implemented.

Paul picking Amber Jewel plums

Apart from helping with Tellurian Fruit Gardens, we’ve watched the Gung Hoe Growers plant, water, harvest, and weed their vegetables for their CSA members and restaurants.

Mel planting in the Gung Hoe patch (with Scally supervising)

We’ve watched Tess milk her beloved cows, and Oli help finalise the dairy.

Tess and Roberta at the mobile milking parlour

Merv and Katie have given us an insight into fruit tree budding and grafting. We were excited to see the variety of online courses that Katie and Hugh have to offer under Grow Great Fruit.

Farming is all about community

We were fortunate enough to be invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner. It happened to be our last evening at the farm—shared meals are a really fantastic way to build community.

Shared meal – good company

Being at Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op has been an absolute pleasure and inspiration. We look forward to seeing how the collective grows and flourishes into the future.

Penny and Paul

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