Rod and Tanya Bruin, along with their sons and a dedicated team, farm Summit Organics, a 338 acre organic produce farm in Tyalgum. They have been farming 50 different types of vegetables for 30 years, selling exclusively through farmers’ markets.
You couldn’t help but notice that, more recently, Tanya has added her fabulous fresh blooms to the stall. Fresh as can be and very long-lasting, they look incredible in the baskets of browsing marketgoers.
‘I just began playing with flowers. We had been growing vegetables for so long I was really just having fun and looking for something different. I established a small flower patch and it has just grown from there. I really love it,’ says Tanya.
‘I was trialling everything, just trying to find my niche, but I find myself returning to dahlias. That is the joy of growing, if it works – great – but it’s fun to see what eventuates’.
The Bruins are committed organic farmers, they use no chemicals or artificial fertilisers, ‘Everything is grown with lots of compost and lots of love’. You will also only find seasonal produce at their stall, as ‘produce was never meant to be available year-round, that’s only possible if it’s imported. Although we do always have flowers if Mother Nature allows it’.
Summit is most renowned for their leafy greens, including kale, silver beet, rocket, herbs, English spinach and broccoli. The vibrancy of their greens is testament to their farming; good compost, soil and a lot of hard work.
You will not only find Tanya out in the fields, she also runs the stall. Her favourite part? ‘Easily the customer relations, I love seeing the way people react to the produce. It is really important for people to understand that local food is the way of the future. If we are going to live a more sustainable life we need to understand, shopping direct from the farmers benefits everyone, it keeps the money in the town, it educates shoppers when they can talk to growers and understand what it takes to produce their food, and we get to learn what the customers want’.
The good news is that as more people become aware of the importance of sustainable food, they are also becoming aware of the importance of local, sustainable cut flowers.
Summit Organics are at New Brighton Farmers Markets, Tuesday 7–11am and Mullumbimby Farmers Markets, Friday 7–11am.