flour freshly milled to order in small batches every week
we are a small scale certified organic family farm in lutruwita / Tasmania, growing a range of delicious grains, pulses and seeds
We live and farm on unceded tommeginne country in beautiful lutruwita / Tasmania. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We pay our deepest respects to the first people of this land and their elders past and present. The palawa/pakana are the first farmers and caretakers of lutruwita and their connection to this land remains strong.
Hello, we’re Gareth, Tonia and Ida:
The Grain Family
Gareth – he’s the hands-on farmer – a townie turned country lad with a passion for growing good food.
Tonia – she has organic farming in her blood, and a deep love of all things food, and keeping it simple.
Ida – the newest addition to the family – she reminds us of what’s important in life, like pancakes!
So there’s a theme… we’re all excited by good food!
Why grow food?
We love food.
We love simple food that tastes good.
We see farming as one of the most important jobs on earth.
Many young people are walking off the land, not inspired to continue farming. We want to turn that around and show that it’s not only possible but also extremely rewarding to make a living from small to medium scale organic farming.
Everyone needs food. In much of today’s abstractions food is one of the things that is truly essential.
Although quality organic food is becoming more widely available, much of it travels vast distances and in the case of grain, most of it still comes from the mainland or overseas.
We believe that farming in the right way can improve the condition of the soil.
Healthy soils equals healthy planet.
How we started
In June 2016, The Grain Family was born. After a few years of trials and building up seed stock we finally had enough grain to start thinking, “we better start doing something with this”. The Grain Family came about because of things we already liked doing. We like growing and we like working together as a family. It seems a natural fit!
Tonia grew up on her parents’ dairy farm, Elgaar. After falling madly in love (and pregnant), she moved back with partner Gareth and baby Ida to the family farm. “We thought we’d give it a three month trial and see how it goes”. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, they decided to trial a small patch of grains and use the existing machinery and sheds with the help of Tonia’s dad Joe (an experienced grower).
A few years of successes and failures later, they’ve entered into a share farming arrangement with Tonia’s parents and are venturing out from under Elgaar’s wings to forge their own way as farmers.
The things we depend on the most we value the least. Grains are not cool right now. Grains have become a cheap and mass produced commodity, most commonly grown in large monocultures as far as the eye can see. These landscapes are biological wastelands. Most of our modern varieties have been bred for high yields, high gluten content and are only suited to chemical farming methods.
This has all come at a cost to nutrients and flavour and in turn our health and the health of the soil. But it hasn’t always been like this….
We want to show the potential of grains as truly delicious foods in their own right; foods where regional and seasonal differences are sought after rather than blended to achieve a uniform product year after year.
The appreciation of regional differences or terroir is integral to fine wine. It’s starting to gain traction with coffee, chocolate and even our most common vegetables. Grain is still mostly used as a vehicle for other flavours. The time has come for grain terroir!
If you have ever made a loaf of bread from freshly ground whole grains and eaten it warm with a good slathering of butter, you will understand why we grow grain. There is nothing quite like it!
A tiny bit about how we farm…
We started growing grains six years ago on an existing dairy. The nature of our heavy soils, dry summers and wet winters, and the need for animal feed to make milk, has meant we’ve adopted a ‘double cropping system’. We sow all our grains in spring and harvest in late summer and sow a grass/legume mix that grows over winter and is cut as hay in spring. There is always something growing!
All added fertility comes from the grazing animal’s manure which we spread finely over the paddocks each year where it composts.