After many invitations and far too many full diaries, we at long last headed to Clearwater Gardens Farm for an afternoon of the most wonderfully delicious delights and purely perfect simple moments. Jess, Lucas, their two little ones and a pretty constant stream of WWOOFER's and Helpx folk, run this organic farm in Glennifer, Bellingen. Clearwater Gardens is a relatively new farm which is still in the throes of steep learning curves, determination, frustrations, shiny eyes and passion. As we sat and dined on a stunning lunch made pretty much entirely with ingredients from the farm (with the exception of the spices, parmesan cheese and a tiny bit of flour), every mouthful we ate was made even more delicious with this knowledge, the pumpkin sweeter than ever, the moussaka like nothing we had ever tasted (beef from the farm and the béchamel made from the goats milk, eggplant from yes, the farm) and the salad was literally jumping from our plates it was that fresh and full of a bounty of all sorts of greenery.
Oh yes, this is the epitome of loving and eating local, we were minutes and in some cases seconds from the source of the majority of our feast. Ah, yes, this to me is pretty damn perfect. To make matters even more pinch worthy was having a big table with said feast taken to a perfectly shady grassy patch and it was there we devoured, chatted and greedily quizzed our hosts about their farming experiences.
As challenging as this whole farming experience has been, what with wholesalers (outside of Bellingen) not wanting their beautiful and utterly delicious organic watermelons due to, wait for it, seeds (!) seriously, come on people, check out the protein levels in watermelon seeds, damaged but still great pumpkins wasting away and having an excessive amount of produce that can't be sold. They have a plan for the future, a plan to grow based on what their retailers want and then the plan is that there will be little waste and they can fulfil their retailers needs with preorders. They also have a beautiful plan about creating beautiful commercial compost, (see the rich and wonderful grass compost below). With an organic and biodynamic focus, they rotate and stagger crops, they research, talk, learn, document. All this whilst being present and beautiful parents and people. Scott and I were more than a little awestruck and starry-eyed.
After a wander around the farm, greeting the goats, admiring the cows and gathering armloads of eggplant, we worked up a sweat and wandered down to an absolutely stunning Never Never Creek swimming hole, the near on freezing turquoise water was the most perfect way to end a day that had my head spinning with pure and simple joy and wonder.
Although Scott and I have no aspirations to be farmers on this scale we do nurture a deep and growing desire to grow more food, food for our family and for giving our excessive food to those beyond our family. We dream of doing it on a smaller scale (like a town sized block) but on a scale that is full, even brimming with plenty. When we connect with people like Jess and Lucas it inspires us in the best possible way. Thanks guys for providing our town with such delicious produce, for being passionate about growing food and for being part of something so important for our future.