About the farm
River Fossil Farm is located at Petcheys Bay, on traditional lands of the Mellukerdee people, ten minutes from Cygnet, on the ancient fossil studded banks of the Huon River.
River Fossil Farm is a 60 acre mixed farming property. The main farming focus is the blueberries, of which we have 2.5 acres. The farm also comprises a large vegetable market garden, a mixed fruit and nut orchard, and 40 acres of pasture on which we run a small herd of pure bred Black Angus cattle and Wiltshire sheep. The remainder of the property is dry sclerophyll bush. We are working towards expanding our team of “work horses”, otherwise known as the humble honey bee. We keep a small number of hives for pollinating the blueberry bushes, and from which to enjoy the bounty of amazing blueberry and clover honey.
River Fossil Farm has a special sense of peace about it. It is the most delightful place to raise a family living off the land. The soils are acidic, and perfect for growing blueberries. We share it of course with our neighbours, the bettongs, Eastern barred bandicoots, wedge-tailed eagles, sea eagles, Tasmanian devils, quolls, echidnas, free-range chickens, cows and our border collie, Panda, who definitely has the life/work balance tilted in the right direction....
Who we are
Cam and Maureen, together with their three children- budding farmer Cedar, 7 years old (and holding the record for the most blueberries eaten in 2 minutes!), and Penny, 5 years old and desperate to steal her big sister’s claim to fame, and Abel, 3 years old with an incredible knack of disappearing into thin air amongst the blueberries bushes- purchased River Fossil Farm after much searching for the ideal property.
For Cam, having been brought up on a cattle farm in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, it’s about getting back to those farming and sustainability roots which he’s always held close. Having chased career and gallivanted widely, River Fossil Farm and the Huon Valley is perfect for again putting down those roots.
For Maureen, farming is a very new pursuit. Maureen left the Blue Mountains to study in Tasmania, and quickly fell in love with its natural beauty and opportunities. She now juggles her roles of mother, farmer and GP in Cygnet. Maureen prescribes a handful of blueberries a day to keep the doctor away!
Our philosophy of farming is simply working with what we have and looking at the whole farm as a system. What we do to one corner of the farm has to complement and work towards improving the rest of the system. As an example we have “habitat islands” or small patches of undergrowth (native and exotic), hollow logs, and soil mounds dotted around the farm. These “islands” increase the farms biodiversity and are crucial in harbouring beneficial predators such as lizards, spiders, bandicoots and grey fantails, which work to suppress pests. Our approach loosely fits into the principles behind ecological farming and permaculture.
We are constantly trying to improve the soil. We are not certified organic but our principles are the same – we grow organically using only organic fertiliser. We mulch heavily with a variety of farm sourced organic matter and we’re also slightly addicted to compost.
Our farming techniques are constantly evolving. Farming for us offers a special opportunity to really see nature at work. For two science nerds such as us there is no better laboratory, and it’s even open air! One of our heroes, Peter Andrews, author of ‘”Back from the Brink”, spent 30 years of his life experimenting with farming technique, some of which put him at complete odds with long held beliefs. As a result he was able to restore and re-generate the landscape on a large scale and create a self-sustaining “whole farm system”. That’s the exciting opportunity we have too. River Fossil Farm is a work in progress. It too needs to be brought “back from the brink”.
We believe blueberries, or any produce for that matter, should taste of nothing else. Testament to how well our berries thrive here are their sheer size. These berries are big. How big? The largest are 20grams. That big!