Hillsborough quality nuts
Bill, Anita, Andrew, Cooper, Georgie & the Hillsborough Farm Gate
If you’ve been enjoying the eggs, spuds and cordials at the co-op you’ll be familiar with the work of our friends at Hillsborough Quality Nuts. We sat on their sunny veranda to hear their story …
What do you grow and produce?
Andrew: On the farm, we grow hazelnuts, chestnuts, potatoes and raspberries. I also manage the pasture-raised chickens, who I call my co-workers for their full-time role in helping rid the farm of pests and laying the eggs.
Anita: In the shop, I produce Worcestershire sauces (in cherry, plum and raspberry flavours), cordials (cherry, plum and raspberry), tomato sauce and relish, jams (raspberry, spiced plum and port, peach and passionfruit, and cherry) and cherry vanilla syrup. I also bake for the shop, make the coffee, and sell other local products to support our fellow local growers and makers.
How did it all start?
Anita: The Hillsborough story dates back to the 1870s, with the first generation of Andrew’s family farming potatoes, cherries and eventually apples in Stanley. By the third generation (Andrew’s dad, Bill), the apples were wiped out by hail and the farm had to be sold in 1969.
Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and we had the chance to move back from Perth to buy back the family farm – and we jumped at the opportunity. Now, with Andrew and our son Cooper, the fourth and fifth generations are right back where they belong, with Bill pitching in with the mowing, pruning and other farm jobs.
Much of the produce is grown on the old family farm, while the shop sits on the neighbouring farm block where Andrew once completed his horticultural apprenticeship.
What do you love about what you do?
Anita: We’re proud to produce high quality, nutrient dense food, and love being able to provide this in as natural a state as possible. Visitors are welcome to come any time – well, except for 7am on a Sunday! – and we love it when they join us for Sunday scone day.
Andrew: There is an open door policy here and people are welcome to look around and see all the happenings on the farm.
We’re also working with schools to employ young local people with a love of horticulture. Georgie has been with us for more than 18 months now and shares our passion for doing things differently.
Why do you enjoy being part of the Beechworth Food Co-op?
Andrew: The Co-Op is a fantastic idea with lots of local farmers on board getting high quality local food to people. It’s a sustainable outlet and all the growers are on the same page.
Anita: Through the co-op, we’re dealing with like-minded people, members of our tribe; people with the mindset and knowledge to look for something that’s grown locally, grown well and is nutritious.
What’s next for you guys at Hillsborough Quality Nuts?
Andrew: We’re trialling garlic and have olives at an embryonic state, and we’ve planted some English and French oaks which I hope will result in truffles in the coming years. Pigs are also high on my wish list to help turn over the soil.
I have a passion for the land and for doing things differently – and if someone says something can’t be done, I do it!
Anita: I’m going to be growing chilli for jams, as well as growing vegetables for customers to pick fresh from the garden. Hazelnut oil and chocolate covered hazelnuts are also high on the to-do list.
Oh, and young Cooper wants to run farm tours for lucky visitors.
To see the farm in action you can visit Hillsborough Quality Nuts at 105 Mount Stanley Road, Stanley.
They’re open from 9am to 5pm Thursday to Sunday, or by appointment at other times (call Anita on 0402 909 806).