18.5 C
Byron Shire
May 27, 2024

Marlivale Farm

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Mac from Marlivale Farm

Victoria Cosford

Mac’s face lights up as he describes the rice fields near Nimbin, home to the family-owned Marlivale Farm. ‘The rice,’ he says, ‘is about to go into harvest and it’s looking good. The fields are grassy with that coconutty smell, like pandan…’

Like so many other businesses, this one is only now properly recovering from the floods three years ago. Frank Boyle inherited the 30-year old pecan plantation from his father; the rice followed some 16 years later. And since then it’s remained very firmly in the family, daughter Sophie and son-in-law Mac working alongside Frank and Andrea. ‘It’s just the four of us,’ Mac says. ‘We live and work there, we all do it together.’ It’s that closeness and solidarity that has enabled them all to withstand the various vicissitudes which constitute farming. ‘The changing climate’, Mac says, ‘and the unpredictability make it harder to plan, but the benefit of being a family is that we all share – it lessens the burden. We work together to work it out.’

He says that this year both rice and pecans are ‘looking so good!’ Frank has a nut-cracking facility – three cracking machines – which means the nuts never leave the farm. ‘It’s allowed us to send the nuts to the markets and they’re so fresh!’, Mac says, ‘plus we’re reducing mileage.’ The shells are used for compost; the broken nuts go into their very popular pecan spread. All the nuts are hand-sorted several times.

I want to know about new products, if any, and again Mac’s face lights up. ‘Our brown rice flour is the big thing’, he tells me. ‘Brown rice flour is so hard to find.’ They’re using a granite stone-mill down in Victoria for the grinding. ‘There’s nothing better,’ Mac says, ‘than freshly milled flour – it’s so light and fine and fluffy.’

Marlivale Farm is at New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 8 to 11am.

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