Church Farm is one of those successful little businesses that just evolved – well, organically. Market-goers would be familiar with the beautiful big soaps, the sauces and curry pastes, but it all started out as a way to use up excess garden produce at the Billinudgel home of Andrew and Amanda Callan. A hobby, really, as Amanda tells it, which ‘turned into a full-time thing.’
It’s been going for nearly ten years now, employing eight in all, including themselves: ‘cooks, labelers, wax dippers, soap makers, market legends, order slayers, email wizards’, says Amanda. ‘We absolutely adore our team’, she adds.
One market legend I’m talking to is James Lange, longest-running employee (according to him), with five years largely manning the stall; his shock of blonde curls and a cruisy affable manner belie his full knowledge of all the products he sells. There were only three sauces when he started out: the Hot Smoked, the Brown and the Green, but since then pickles, ketchup, BBQ sauce, red and green Thai curry pastes and now mustards have joined the range, the latest is a Honey and Pepperberry one (‘which is delish’, says Amanda.) Andrew, James tells me, ‘is an amazing chef.’
Amanda’s the one behind the soaps, telling me that when it comes to ‘artificial ingredients, seed oils, thickeners, preservatives, fake fragrances etc’, she is very strict, opting instead for garden-grown herbs and other natural ingredients. ‘We love making things from scratch with beautiful local produce’, she says, ‘and having full control over the ingredients that go into our products.’
The couple have four boys so Amanda is always looking for nutritious meals she can whip up using their own products, one being a glorious Butter Chicken utilising their Indian Curry Paste, available on the website.
Church Farm is at New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 8–11am and Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday from 7–11am.