Story and photo Kate O’Neill
Some of Dougal Forrest’s earliest memories are of being out in the garden with his mum and dad, and crawling around in the macadamia orchard ‘helping’ to gather the harvest.
His parents, David Forrest and Sue Mangan, moved to their Federal farm more than 40 years ago and were pioneers of the organic farming movement in the Northern Rivers – so for Dougal and his three sisters, helping out on the farm was a huge part of their life growing up.
When Dougal finished school he moved to the Gold Coast and worked as an electrician, returning to the farm on the weekends to help out. But farm life was calling and when his parents offered to sell him a piece of their land to create his own patch, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
Dougal now has his own burgeoning market garden. His produce includes ginger, garlic, turmeric, cucumber, potatoes and kale, which he sells at his stall Organic Forrest at the New Brighton Farmers Market.
He also collaborates with his mum and dad – who have sold their organic produce at Mullumbimby Farmers Market for many years – by having produce from their farm available on his stall too.
His stall offers macadamias, macadamia butter, leafy greens, coffee beans, and delicious home-made creations from Sue (a former food tech teacher at Mullum High) including Davidson plum jam, Jamu (an Indonesian health drink based on turmeric), and the ultimate winter tonic, Fire Cider, made with apple cider, horseradish, ginger, garlic, chilli, lemon and honey. Dougal says the move to full-time farming has been incredibly rewarding and he loves the face-to-face interaction with customers at the markets.
Dougal reckons he’s got the right stuff; ‘When customers ask where it’s come from and how it was grown – I’ve got the right answers,’ he said confidently.
Find Organic Forrest at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday.