At 25, Sarah Montgomery has her feet planted firmly on the ground and her hands deep in the soil. The third-generation farmer works alongside her father, David, and grandfather, Kerry, growing strawberries on the family farm at Eungella.
Sarah’s passion for the land and the security of farming into the future is evident. The average age of Australian farmers is 56 years old, so bringing young blood into the agricultural sector is critical.
‘My generation of farmers is the future of Australia,’ she says. ‘If my generation stops farming, where does that leave us? Maintaining local food systems is so important.
‘At the end of the day, without young farmers, there is no future in Australian farming. And I want to make sure our farm is left in good hands for the next generation.’
Sarah says she hopes those hands will be her children’s – three-year-old Lillian and 10-month-old Ross – and so she is trying to foster that same love and passion for the land in them.
If you’ve ever tasted Monty’s strawberries, you’ll know that their supermarket counterparts aren’t a patch on them.
‘Our strawberries are ripened on the vine, whereas supermarket-bought strawberries are picked when they are still partly green and doused in chemicals,’ she says.
Alongside the best-tasting strawberries, Monty’s also offer 100 per cent fruit flats, ice-blocks and ice-creams – all made with second or unsaleable fruit. Not only are these value-added items hugely popular with the young folk, but they also mean there is no food waste on the farm.
You can find the Monty’s stall at Byron and Bangalow Farmers Markets every week.
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.
Farming family: Kerry Montgomery with his granddaughter, Sarah, and great grandchild, Ross, at Bangalow Farmers Market.