19.3 C
Byron Shire
October 3, 2022

Health crisis leads chef to farming

Latest News

‘Sad and distressing’: massive numbers of bird deaths in Australian heatwaves reveal a profound loss is looming

Heatwaves linked to climate change have already led to mass deaths of birds and other wildlife around the world. To stem the loss of biodiversity as the climate warms, we need to better understand how birds respond.

Other News

On Save the Koala Day conservationists all agree they disagree with the Minister for Environment

Ahead of today’s Save the Koala Day, NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin yesterday announced that private landholders are being supported to restore 200 hectares of koala habitat in the Northern Rivers.

This league of pets are super

The best things about the school holidays are the awesome films created for kids, and a great film for...

NSW gov’t accused of ‘pork barrelling’ in Ballina electorate

As people on the Northern Rivers last week endured the anxiety of severe storm warnings and pre-dawn emergency alerts, a visit from the state’s emergency services minister was barely announced.

The Tweed Artisan Food Festival is almost here

The sixth Tweed Artisan Food Festival will be held at the end of the month – the festival runs for 10 days with 20 curated events showcasing the people, the place and the produce of the Tweed.

It is a weekend of excitement, fun and laughter for everyone at the National Circus Festival

It truly is like stepping into another world as you enter The Famous Spiegeltent which is here for the National Circus Festival that is taking place this weekend in Mullumbimby before it once again heads off around the world.

Mullum biz petition for road improvements

A petition from Mullumbimby industrial estate business owners will be tabled at the upcoming September 29 meeting, which calls on Council to upgrade pothole ridden Manns Road.

Pepe Fassos and his fabulous microgreens and sprouts at the Bangalow Farmers Market.

Pepe Fassos grew up in Athena Taverna – a once-iconic Greek restaurant that thrived in the heart of Byron Bay, in Lawson Street, for 21 years. He was making coffees at the age of five and was a qualified chef at 18. However, years later a twist of fate led him to farming.

‘I had been working as a chef for years and decided to go travelling,’ says Pepe. ‘It really opened my eyes – I loved the way different cultures grew and enjoyed their food. So when I came back to Australia I was inspired to leave the cooking industry and get into food production.’

Pepe’s first foray into farming was on a poultry farm at Casino. It involved fairly large-scale farming, where he was responsible for half a million birds on rotation. After working there for a number of years, two things happened that would change his fate again.

Firstly, he was made redundant and then he discovered he also needed spinal surgery. 

‘My vertebrae were crushed as a result of a number of things – not bending properly at work and not leading a very healthy lifestyle. This was on top of the redundancy. It all happened at the same time and it was a bit of a wake-up call. I realised I had to change my lifestyle.’

And he certainly did – converting a couple of old sheds on his property in South Gundurimba so he could grow microgreens and sprouts.

‘I wanted to grow healthy food and decided on microgreens and sprouts, which are incredibly nutrient-dense superfoods. I knew intensive farming after the chicken farm, and sprouts are also intensive farming. And I was determined they would be soil grown (rather than hydroponic) and I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. So that was initially a massive challenge.’

But the challenge paid off. Pepe’s wide range of microgreens and sprouts are available at the Five Sixty Farms stall at Byron and Bangalow Farmers Markets as well as being supplied to local chefs and restaurants.

‘They used to be quite a niche product and popular mainly with chefs, but more and more people are now aware of them and their health benefits,’ says Pepe. ‘For example, we have a bag of broccoli sprouts, which I consider makes about two serves. Each serve is equivalent to four heads of broccoli.

‘And people now understand that sprouts and microgreens can be more than just a garnish. You can pile them on sandwiches or wraps or add them to smoothies. You can also add them to a stir-fry at the end of cooking.’

Pepe has recently added edible flowers to the Five Sixty Farms range, which have proven hugely popular with customers. 

Byron Farmers Market is held Thursdays 7–11am at the Cavanbah Centre and Bangalow Farmers Market is held Saturdays 7–11am behind the Bangalow Pub. 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

CWA push for improved maternity services

The W in CWA stands for Women and the CWA have been standing up for women yet again during their recent webinar and annual Awareness Week campaign.

Chris Minns visits Kingscliff to look at floodplain development risks

The potential future risks and costs of flooding to the community and government if approved, but yet to be built, housing is allowed to go ahead in floodplains was under the spotlight last week in Kingscliff.

The Tweed Artisan Food Festival is almost here

The sixth Tweed Artisan Food Festival will be held at the end of the month – the festival runs for 10 days with 20 curated events showcasing the people, the place and the produce of the Tweed.

$30 million Aboriginal Community and Place Grants

Eligible Aboriginal community organisations and groups can apply for funding through the new solutions-focused $30 million Aboriginal Community and Place Grants program.