Farmer Stories – The Paul Family – Ruby Hill Organics

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Farmer Stories – The Paul Family – Ruby Hills Organics

A New Zealander and an American living the Australian farming dream against the backdrop of one of the most scenic farms I know. Fairytale stuff.
But us farming families on the Collective know allll too well that the bustle and hustle of farming and family integration is gorgeous but intense. But they make it work because, as Amy says, that “ah-ha” moment of knowing that they wanted to farm was always with them. And it doesn’t leave. #farmerforlyf
The Paul family are successful and strong advocates for the organic farming community; and we need that.

Tell me about how you got into farming. How long have you been farming?
We started farming in 2001 in the South Island of New Zealand together. We were dairy farmers there and shifted to Queensland running beef genetics and a 1000 acre farm, then found our home in South Gippsland on an Organic Dairy farm that we added the chooks to. The chooks overtook the cows and became our mainstay in 2014.

What did you do before you were a farmer?
We were young and free and worked for other farmers! Working on the land is in our blood. We had amazing experiences when we were younger around Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand and Amy in the US in California and Wyoming. When people take a chance on a young farmer it means a world of difference. We always knew it would be challenging to get into our own farming because of land prices, but some good direction from pivotal farmers in our lives as we worked though and a bit of luck and pluck got us on our current 85 acres of green bliss in Walkerville.

When was you’re a-ha moment, for wanting to farm?
Always there for both of us.

What makes your product different, from say, a supermarket product?

Our eggs are Certified Organic – meaning that the chemicals have been taken out of farming, yes. But on top of that Organic farming is wholistic – we are capturing carbon, and building soil at fast rates because of our management. Certified Organic products rather than free range or cage free means that you are spending your dollar on the people that work every day on our precious environment and creating a better world in the process.

Farming influences? Who’s your farming hero?

We love the ones that can manage many different factions of farming all at once. The farmer as a whole is our hero. The farmer and nature are in a relationship of love – there are nuances there that rural people just get – like that the flow of honey is earlier, or the rivers aren’t flowing like they used to, or the season has been long and will impact something else down the line.

What’s a standard day on the farm for you?

Big busy family farming life. Never a dull moment. Kids with livestock and projects, everyday there is feeding out to do and careful collection of eggs, once or twice a week depending on the season we have our egg sorting days, feed deliveries, restocking supplies, there are delivery days in town and maintenance – always maintenance on a farm from busted fences to flooded tracks, stock to shift, dogs to sort out…

For people wanting to get into farming, what’s your key advice?

Find a mentor and do the work for at least a year to see what nature will give you during that time. Then if you can – do it. You’ll never look back.

How did you hear about the Prom Coast Food Collective? Has it helped?

Local people bringing local food to Victoria – we didn’t start up with the collective because we couldn’t wedge in an extra day of delivery, but we popped in a few years ago and we’re happy to be a part of a farmer-run collective.

If you could impart one piece of knowledge to your customer base, about cooking with your product, what would it be?

Perfect the poach! It’s always worth it. Going back to the simple things too – a simple boiled egg with good salt and pepper is hard to beat on a picnic. There is so much variety and we love customers to share what they’ve made – scotch eggs, pavlova, sponges, a spicy omelette, Spanish eggs…. We love to see what customers are whipping up – a bit of inspiration can get a kitchen pumping with creativity!

What’s one thing that we might not know about you, outside of farming?

I just can’t separate our lives from farming – everything we do satellites around our farming!

Favourite farming book?

Milkwood

Favourite non-farming book?

Field Guide to Birds

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