We were very sad to hear that one of our wonderful farmers, Kel Johnston, has been given notice to finish farming on his leased land at Cooranbong and will not be supplying FIG after next week.
Kel has been with FIG from the start and we thank him wholeheartedly for his growing ethics and his support of FIG - and for introducing us to some unusual vegetables. The purple radishes and also the current black radishes are two such things, as well as the baby crookneck squash, kiwana (African Horned Cucumbers), etc (the list is long). We will miss the beautiful Russian Kale he has been supplying, the various heirloom squash and pumpkins and the recent coriander bunches; the Tigerella and striped plum tomatoes and many other heirloom or forgotten species. Maybe you're not aware, however at different times of the year, he has grown produce specifically with FIG members in mind, such as mini pumpkin and squash varieties just the right size for a family, and so forth.
He is taking this opportunity to move to his land on the northern coast of NSW and to grow more heirloom vegetables, along with increasing and introducing the production of some varieties he hasn't been able to grow due to the southerly climate restrictions (think frost, for a start!).
Whilst Kel reckons we haven't seen the last of him, it's unfortunately yet another case of another farmer gone from the local food growing area. We need MORE people growing for the increasing population, not less. And more ethical and chemical free farmers such as Kel, and Michael Champion, and Beulah Bill, and Jean, etc.
On a happier note, it seems that by the end of this year, Ed Morris of Mangrove Mountain may have his vegetable organic certification through, which is very exciting. We purchase quite a bit through Ed throughout the year and he is an inspirational man, proving that farming can be managed well into your eighties. Go, Ed!
Goodbye to Kel, and thank you. We wish you well and many years of happy and productive growing (and we know we'll catch up with you again).
Whilst we're here saying thank you, we will take this opportunity to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all the FIG farmers and the various people supplying this and that throughout the seasons.