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Well hello! It feels like a year since I've been around here. A year's worth of stuff has whizzed by, surely. Phonecalls, emails, planning planting weeding baking school-run laundry market after market, biscuit after biscuit and then one afternoon I answer my phone and it's the NSW Food Authority telling me they've found my whole-egg custard for sale at our local food co-op and that I'm selling it illegally without a dairy processors license. Withdraw the product from sale until licensed. Crap! 

Not only did I have stock in the fridge, a lot, for the next market at Berry, but we'd been talking that week to a big potential supplier and word is going around and you know, it's really good! and selling really well and looking very likely to overtake bikkies for us at some stage in terms of sales. It's a winner. And apparently illegal. 

So I did something a bit rash. On our farm page on Facebook I wrote: 

"After a warning from the Food Authority, we're not able to sell our whole egg custard until we apply for a Dairy Processors License. So this weekend we'll be at Berry Markets with a new product: fortune telling. Your fortune told for $7, comes with free whole egg custard."

And that's what I did. I told fortunes, gave away custard and hung onto my hat thinking the Food Authority was going to show up at any moment, make a scene and confiscate my cooler. Or worse, fine me. But they didn't. Instead, supporters showed up. Lots of them. Friends and long-term and brand-new customers. Other farmers. That little facebook post was shared so many times that it has been seen by almost 17,000 people. 17,000! One farming friend, Kel, who makes gelato locally out of his own fabulous cows milk offered to include us under his Dairy Processors license and include the custard in his Food Safety plan, if we wanted to make it at his place. 

I felt enveloped in an extended communal hug. You awesome people. 

And I realised that it doesn't matter how small we are, you and me, we can do anything. We're in this together. This food, this fight, it has significance for lots of people, not just round our dinner table. Which is great, because while we might have resolved the Dairy licence, we're going to be jumping through beauracratic hoops for a while yet. 

Oh yes, resolved. We're naturally rule followers rather than renegades over here, so we will be applying for a Dairy Licence. And we'll sell honey yoghurt made from Kel's milk and our honey too. Win. But in the meantime, we are allowed to sell our custard directly, just not wholesale. So that's what we'll do. 

And meanwhile, our commercial kitchen in the dairy is coming together. Ovens are here, fridges found, benches and windows and doors ordered, and there's dishwashers and plantetary mixers on Adam's eBay watchlists. I've picked the flooring and we're waiting for the electrician. It's very exciting. Because not only will we be operating from here rather than lugging everything in and out of the rented commercial kitchen in town, we'll be running on-farm cooking classes and cool food-making workshops and next door in the old workshop there'll be a little farm shop. Come and visit! 

For all the believers, I wish you general awesomeness. Without you we're just a tiny farm growing some stuff. But with you, with your arms around us, we're a good idea going places. Thank you. 

xxx

 

18 Comments on “spinning

kim at allconsuming
August 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

This is just so exciting. And Chef and I can empathise with the lugging everything into the commercial kitchen – that’s what we’re doing.

Chef is also telling me to tell you he’ll come down and run a cooking class for you – maybe sausage making?

xxxKim

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islanddweller
August 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

You go girl! Very awesome when people come together and help out and band together to make change. Wish I was closer so I could try that custard and the bikkies. The farm is definitely a stop when we head home.

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Bee Girl
August 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

What a whirlwind of excitement and activity! I live your passion and your path! Congratulations on all the forward movement! A few bumps in the road never hurt anyone 😉

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Sue
August 6, 2013 at 12:00 am

Oh, you are wonderful. I was nervous about that FB post/fortune telling thing, and had to sit on my hands for a few minutes not to say, please-honey-be-careful! Well done, feel the love, and we cant wait to hear more about the new kitchen!!

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Karen
August 6, 2013 at 2:46 am

Yay! Glad things are working out. I’m cheering for you from way over here in the middle of the US!

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innerpickle
August 6, 2013 at 6:47 am

That’s an excellent plan! xx

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Jodie
August 6, 2013 at 6:53 am

Fi, so much wonderfulness is this post I don’t know where to even start! Well done guys – great great news all round and so very exciting!! xx J.

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Sally
August 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

You’re not allowed to sell custard and we aren’t allowed to buy raw milk and yet Fonterra is allowed to sell botulism-laced whey products. Got to wonder what the regulations are actually designed to “protect”.

Good on you and all of your supporters and this community. Keep up the wonderful work.

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Just Joyful
August 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

Don’t you just love the community spirit! And the wonderful feeling of being taken in by that wonderful community, to be part of it, and have the whole community helping you to achieve your dreams.

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innerpickle
August 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

Oh yeah, if you get me started well be here all day, drunk and a tad maudlin. I deeply resent the regulating of small producers while massive industrial crap is churning through our school canteens. Right now I need tea and not whisky so I better leave it there. Its time for a revolution Sally. x

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Lucinda
August 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Awesome awesome post. I’m speeching… and making up words it would seem… at a special celebration conference in WA this weekend for women in agriculture. Could I share part of this story with them?

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innerpickle
August 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

It would be an honour, go ahead! xx

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Mrs Homespun
August 7, 2013 at 5:41 am

Sounds terribly exciting, stressful, but exciting!

All the best.

xoxo

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Gab
August 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Fi, I’ve already got a group together that want to attend a cooking course by you. We are ready! As soon as you are open for business you’ll have a half a dozen paying customers on your door step!

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innerpickle
August 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

You just made my day Gab, thank you gorgeous! xxx

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Louise
August 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

YAY!

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Claudine
August 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Bravo to you and your super-cleverness! What you have accomplished is inspiring!

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Robyn
August 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

wow. you are an absolute bloody inspiration. Go you!!!!

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