Business

Johno's living the good life down on The Farm

The Farm general manager Johno Hunter is passionate about good food and truly believes they are re-writing the book on what can be done with food.
The Farm general manager Johno Hunter is passionate about good food and truly believes they are re-writing the book on what can be done with food. Marc Stapelberg

IT'S 7am and Johnson 'Johno' Hunter, on his first round of the day, walks across the dewy grass to check the cattle enclosure at The Farm .

Satisfied with the condition of the herd which comprises a mix of Scottish highlanders, Murray greys, black angus and herefords, he gives rescue-calf Braveheart a good scratch behind the ears.

Then, bending down to take a photo which he'll add to The Farm's popular Instagram site, he waves a hand as though to embrace the surrounding paddocks.

"Where else would you rather be?," he said with a grin.

Where else indeed.

As the general manager of The Farm, Mr Hunter oversees an inspiring 32.3Ha agricultural operation at Ewingsdale.

His hands-on role involves visiting all the areas inside and out and speaking to the key players involved in the business which has become a tour-de-force in the region.

Familiar to anyone who has driven past their lush paddocks on their way to or from Byron Bay, this go-to venue for great food, meals, flowers and produce, is principally a working farm which employs up to 120 people at peak times.

"Our motto is grow, feed and educate," he said.

"At The Farm we house a collection of micro-businesses all sharing in a common goal in a supportive environment to contribute to a healthier lifestyle."

After his first walk, sometime between 8am and 9.30am, Mr Hunter and his team come together inside the 100-year-old homestead, now the operational hub for a meeting he calls "the huddle".

"The daily huddle is where we discuss what's going with the whole set-up which comprises the Three Blue Ducks Restaurant and Produce Store, The Bread Social and Flowers at the Farm," he said.

"I love working here, discussing all the ideas which come to fruition."

After working through a range of issues, Mr Hunter then conducts his first tour of the day.

The mix of families, tourists, curious locals and keen gardeners, are enchanted as he leads them across the property, explaining their philosophy of sustainable growth.

 

"We have 80 acres (32.3Ha) which is home to a community of growers, producers, eateries, and educators, who share a passion for growing food using traditional, sustainable methods," he said.

"I'm really inspired by the owners, Tom and Emma Lane, their philosophy and ethics and the contributions of all the people who work here is amazing."

As children run along the paths while their parents exclaim at the wide variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown, Mr Hunter said one of The Farm's missions is for everyone who visits to get first-hand experience of sustainable farming.

"We want everyone to enjoy this experience and leave feeling inspired to make even the smallest change towards a healthier, more harmonious existence with their lives," he said.

"Our heritage-breed pigs, heritage cattle and chickens which are all free-range and are used for meat and eggs in the on-site restaurant, cafe and produce store."

As the group walks towards the free-range chook paddock, Mr Hunter said the flock of 450 hens which have a special relocatable caravan, produce around 100 dozen eggs a week.

Passing a long bed containing a gaudy chorus line of hundreds of golden sunflowers, he said the display which runs parallel to Ewingsdale Rd attracts a great deal of attention from drivers.

After the tour, Mr Hunter stops for a quick working lunch at Three Blue Ducks which is crowded with people of all ages.

Various staff stop by his table for a quick chat and in between catching up on farm news and eating, he checks emails, returns calls and plans his afternoon.

Then he's off to deliver another tour, speak with staff about visitor progress, check with the cafe, produce store and florist, answer calls from suppliers and overseeing the mound of paperwork every business generates.

Mid-afternoon, there's another spate of on-the-spot discussions about future planting and harvesting.

Then it's time for another coffee and a final walk around around the property.

As the day draws to a close, he pushes his hat back and smiles.

"I never really switch off," he said.

"It's quite a long day here, but I love it."

Topics:  braveheart norther rivers environment organics the farm byron bay the farm cow braveheart


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

NCEIA Dolphin Awards looking for the best of 2017

NEVER TOO LATE: Ivan Perger, 66, received his first NCEIA Dolphin Award in the folk category in 2014.

Entries to the North Coast music awards are now open

CWA amenities clean, safe space for mothers

GOING STRONG: Acting president of Lismore CWA Jan Clifford OAM and secretary Janet Henderson outside the CWA rooms in Spinks Park.

Lismore rooms have welcomed nursing mums and bubs since 1928

All hail Super Minister Peter Dutton

Why does the PM want a super ministry?

Local Partners

Camphor Laurel loss threatens fruit dove

The rose-crowned fruit dove is listed as vulnerable in NSW due to habitat loss from the clearing of rainforest and the removal of camphor laurel trees

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

VIDEO: Girls can feel safe at Splendour

Punters at Splendour in the Grass 2016 at Byron Bay.

High visibility police will be among the crowd at all times

The Block's family home rescue mission

RENO show's new concept – relocating and restoring crumbling heritage homes – proves its biggest challenge to date.

Angelina Jolie 4.0: Is anyone buying this?

Angelina Jolie, master media manipulator, is back.

Love The Bachelor and a feminist? Sorry, you can't be both

These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)

Tans will be sprayed. Roses will be distributed. Tears will be shed.

George RR Martin: Sixth book won't be out this year

Emilia Clarke returns as Daenerys Targaryen in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, which premieres only on Foxtel on July 17.

“I am still working on it, I am still months away..."

Mum spotted on Google Earth 18 months after death

A woman has spotted her mother on Google Earth - she died in 2015

What's on the big screen this week

A scene from the movie War for the Planet of the Apes.

AN ACTION franchise comes to its epic conclusion.

The Bachelor: Will farting be the key to Matty J's heart?

I don’t know what emotion this is.

MATTY J’s return as The Bachelor was sullied on the first night.

Hearty food for cold nights

Boneless lamb shoulder roast with crushed kipflers.

RECIPES: Two tasty lamb dishes to try this winter

How one man made more than $20m in a land deal

Varsity Lakes

Sale, with GST added, shows as a $26.4 million transaction

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!