Shane & Suk Halloran
Shane and Suk Halloran have owned their farm – Iventure Orchards – since 2006. This is a true family farm, having been passed down from from Shane’s grandfather to his father and now to him. Shane’s three brothers, sister-in-law, niece and nephew all help to run the farm. The farm is situated in Cottonvale, north of Stanthorpe.Over the years they have found that certain crops can be grown bio-dynamically in the district. The Granite Belt has four seasons which dictate what crops can be grown at any given time so it is a matter of choosing crops which do well in the seasons available to us. They are in the process of becoming BFA certified as their approach is to constantly improve their land and their farm without the use of pesticides and other chemicals. In organic farming there is a smaller financial outlay initially when planting crops, which means less risk, although the greater potential to loose crops is higher. When converting to organics, the Hallorans began by working out which crops were easiest to grow in their area and climate and then experimenting with different varieties of these crops to see how they could produce the best results.
For example, stone fruit grow better if they aren't sprayed and then you don’t have to dip them to keep them healthy up to the time of sale. Leaving out the chemicals gives fruit that will stay healthy for longer and that have a much better flavour. Overall, they find organic farming much better because there are less costs for chemicals and the machines required to spread them and the end result is much healthier, happier and fresher crops of food. It also allows them to grow old heritage varieties of crops which wouldn't be viable if they were farming conventionally. Iventure Orchards grows strawberries, plums, raspberries, blackberries, zucchinis, beans, cherry tomatoes, egg tomatoes, rhubarb and cherries. They are also trialling crops of old variety heritage apples and pears that are in their infancy at this stage.
These old varieties are great as they aren’t widely available and have a great flavour, even though they have an unconventional appearance. Like all farmers the Hallorans are up against the elements, with frost, hail and drought all causing problems. In the last few years the drought is the most severe that it has been in a long time, longer than their grandmother can remember. They like the stability that Food Connect provides in terms of orders and prices. They can pick at the beginning of the week for the Food Connect delivery and then again at the end of the week to supply the weekend markets. This means that they have less waste and can supply better quality, fresher produce.
They enjoy providing the Food Connect community with their produce because the feel that the subscribers appreciate the fact that real quality is about flavour and nutrition not just appearance. They have been supplying Food Connect since 2009.