Old Beach Berries is owned and farmed by David and Cathryn. In their other lives David is an Occupational Therapist and Cathryn is a Speech Pathologist. They bought the farm in November 2019 and they say it’s been a whirlwind tour and they are still on a steep learning curve. They also say that their mistakes are intermixed with occasional successes which are becoming more frequent!
Their vision is to grow a tasty berry that is produced with a gentle footprint on the earth and they feel fortunate to share their space with lots of different animals and insects and want to keep it that way. They are looking for ways to minimise harm, look after their soil, and to make their farm a place that people want to come to.
The property at Old Beach Berries is 6.1 hectares of blueberries, cherries and olives. The farm is broken into three zones, with two netted blocks and an olive grove.
There are approximately 3000 blueberry bushes with three main varieties: Brigittas, Elliotts and O’Neals plus a few rings-ins scattered throughout the rows, the Blue Rose, for pollination. The O’Neals ripen in time for Christmas. The Brigittas are their main crop and are a beautiful, sweet berry (it’s a well-kept secret that the smaller Brigittas are the sweetest). The Elliotts are dusted white with bloom and are as big as your thumb. Some people find them a bit sour and others absolutely love them.
Old Beach Berries sell fresh and frozen berries, and we do pick-your-own berries and cherries in season. They sell through their farm shop and online shop, to a wholefoods business in Hobart, a local fine dining establishment, and they also export blueberries to the South Australia Produce Market.
The front of house is made up of a packing shed, coolroom and machinery sheds, whilst their cottage adjoins a large, netted vegetable garden and chicken run, where 21 chickens live.
The western border of the farm is Gage Brook. They share the farm with quolls, cockatoos, fairy wrens, frogs, snakes, blue tongue lizards, rabbits, gentlemen hares (they’re sure they have top hats which they haven’t seen as yet) and a multitude of bugs and spiders. They also have a couple of wallabies who reside in the cherry trees.
Their peak time is the summer months when they employ up to 20 people, picking, packing and stacking. For the rest of the year, the farm goes back to just being home. They have many regular and local customers whom are greeted by name. They know that if the gate’s open, they’re open!