News travels fast – after two years of drought, the local rice is back! Get it while it’s hot at the Mullumbimby and New Brighton Farmers Markets.
Frank Boyle is full of praise for the farmers markets movement of the Northern Rivers and the loyal customers who support it through their intentional and ethical shopping practices.
Alongside his wife and son-in-law, fifth generation farmer, Frank, sells pecans, rice, rice cakes and pecan spread, in their family business, Nimbin Valley Pecans and Rice.
‘Season wise – we’ve just completed our rice harvest and we are right in the middle of our pecan harvest,’ says Frank.
‘Local grains are hard to grow, and rice being a staple, everyone was really excited.
It surprised us how passionate people were about eating local rice.
‘It seems a bit ridiculous that you can get rice in a supermarket here that’s been shipped around the world for $2. You wonder how well the farmers are being paid on the other end.’
The family has been growing rice for 14 years, and pecans for almost 30 years.
‘Pecans are a long-term project – you wait ten years before you get a crop, and we now sell the beautiful fresh nuts, as well as our pecan spread.
‘The rice came as an accident really – we trialled it at the farmers markets and it was really popular – it was just the right thing, so we continued to grow it for the region.’
Thanks to a new rice cake machine, Nimbin Valley Pecans and Rice have been whipping up their popular product fresh daily – which boasts nothing added, other than their locally grown rice.
Like many farmers in the fertile district of the Shire, Nimbin Valley runs their small farm with sustainable practices.
‘I think it’s so important, on all levels, to have better farming practices. Our farm is a small farm – we look after our soil, we look after our land, we don’t ship our products all around the world,’ Frank says.
‘The farmers markets movement has been fantastic because we’re able to sell all of our farm products locally – within 50km of where we live.’
‘The other great thing for us as farmers is to get the feedback from customers, which encourages us to innovate – the rice cakes and the pecan spread, they are both value-add products.
‘We listened to feedback from our customers and we’ve created something they love.’
New Brighton Farmers Market is held Tuesdays from 8–11am and Mullumbimby Farmers Market is every Friday from 7–11am.