Crooked River Farm on the NSW South Coast is doing things a little differently these days.
The 400 acre farm is situated on the fertile river flats at Gerringong.
Manager Erin Clare, said their focus was on producing a premium, chemical free, pasture raised meat product and eggs from a growing brood of free-range chickens.
“We produce pasture raised eggs and pasture raised chicken which we sell direct to numerous markets on the South Coast,” she said.
“We also run a herd of about 120 cows and calves.”
The farm was purchased about five years ago and in that time has undergone new fencing, paddocks, sheds and infrastructure to suit the operation.
We will also continue to care for our pasture, improve our paddocks each year, and continue to farm and educate our followers and customers.
Like any primary producer, they have their setbacks.
“Our biggest challenges are predators for our stock such as foxes and wedge tail eagles,” Ms Clare said.
“The other biggest challenge is finding suitable markets for our pasture raised chickens.
“We do have such great customers on board but would love to reach out further with our product.”
The challenges are equally matched by small wins each day on the farm.
“We work hard, we farm the land sustainably, give back to our pastures naturally and we get to watch our animals thrive because of this,” she said.
“Natural farming is our future and something most important to us!”
Ms Clare has always had a love and passion for the land.
“After school I studied agriculture, took myself out west and worked on large stations and then landed on my feet back home on the coast,” she said.
“I love the small scale, more focused farming, where animal welfare is priority and caring for the land is our way forward.
“My partner Grant is a mechanic by trade, and proves himself very handy around the farm each day too. We are so lucky for the opportunity and lucky to share this journey together!
“It’s not really work when you love what your doing!”
The long-term strategy for the farm is to keep producing pasture raised eggs and build on our pasture raised chicken enterprise.
“One day we may even introduce pigs into our rotational grazing system,” Ms Clare said.
“We will also continue to care for our pasture, improve our paddocks each year, and continue to farm and educate our followers and customers.”
Ms Clare said a typical day on Crooked River Farm involves formulating a daily plan between the four full-time staff, before changing the plan to accommodate escaping chickens, runaway maremmas, eagles, broken down utes and inclement weather.
“We live on the farm so every day is a work day for us,” she said.
“Each day is different, some days are quiet and others are busy.”
Ms Clare said technology was definitely an advantage in modern day farming.
“Things like our egg grading machine make days weighing, stamping and packing eggs much easier,” she said.
“Social Media is definitely our most viable tool for the business. Facebook and Instagram are such a powerful tool for us.
“It’s always a great way for us to share our story and for people to follow our journey on the farm.”