By Vivienne Pearson
If you’ve been driving between Mullumbimby and the coast and have been wondering what’s going on just past where the houses finish, here’s your lowdown.
The Paddock Project is… well, it’s a project in a paddock!
So far, the project involves small-scale farming – rows as well as raised garden beds. A roadside stall is set up in a shed to sell the produce. Grass-raised chickens move around the two acres, helping rejuvenate the soil and providing eggs for sale.
The paddock used to be a canefield. ‘It hasn’t been cane for five years and the soil is in recovery, with good mineral content,’ says Jerry King, The Paddock’s ‘project manager’.
‘I’m not a farmer but I’ve grown my own beans and chilis for a long time,’ says Jerry.
Also in the produce stall, complementing what is grown at The Paddock, is other fresh produce, honey, sauces and Alive Foods produce. ‘If I can’t grow it, I’ll get it from locals,’ says Jerry. Shemana Crystalline Elixir skincare, the business of Jerry’s partner, is also available.
Alongside the produce stall is a food van, serving coffee (locally roasted at Barefoot Roasters), and organic cookies (courtesy of The Cookie Shack) that are baked in the van so are served warm. Muffins and toasties are also on offer, both using the produce grown onsite.
Pizza nights have started each Friday, using Jerry’s water-tank-insulated wood-fired pizza oven. Smokehouse nights are in the planning.
All food is takeaway, with the raised garden bed edging useful as a spot to enjoy the views of Mount Chincogan while waiting.
There is a small carpark and parking is possible on the roadside verge (just watch the potholes).
Comparisons with The Farm are inevitable, with obvious differences in size and capital expenditure. ‘It’s a work in progress; nothing is in a hurry,’ Jerry says.
Jerry would love to chat with anyone interested in farming small (quarter-acre) plots.
Next time you drive past, instead of risking an accident by craning your neck to see what else is new at The Paddock Project, pull over to check it out for yourself.
The Paddock Project, 64 Argyle Street, Mullumbimby – on the way out of Mullum towards Uncle Tom’s. Open Mon–Fri 7am–4pm plus pizza Friday nights 4–7pm – look for the Open sign. www.paddockproject.com, FB/Insta: @paddockproject