In the late 1950’s my clever grandparents bought an old dilapidated pear orchard block up Austin Lane in the quaint little Wandiligong Valley (just 8kms outside Bright). The pear trees, we suspect, were planted by William Austin the founder of the first Wandiligong School and now we have a single pear tree remaining that must be over 150 years old. Grandpa, Wilbur Brownbill (pictured), began clearing away the choking blackberries and silver wattle trees that had overrun the sparse orchard and planted every variety of hazelnut, oak, birch, ash, pine, chestnut and fruit tree he could get his hands on. A little house was built using workers huts from the Kiewa Hydro which were joined together to make a sweet family holiday home that was thoroughly enjoyed for four generations.
living the dream
Fast forward to today, after moving around all my life I purchased the adjoining block to the old pear orchard from my uncle in 2013. This property was the site of the first school on Morses Creek Road in the mid-1800’s, later a dairy farm and now a beautiful, established chestnut orchard, as well as a small hazelnut grove and a selection of other fruit trees. The property is in conversion after taking up practicing Biodynamics and focusing on building soil health. The farm shed where my partner Geoff and I grade, cool store and value-add the chestnuts, has been retrofitted by us, with salvaged, upcycled materials to offer a rustic seasonal cafe serving a small menu of farm-to-table foods. My mum has lent a huge helping hand in the shed, especially during our busy times, when we have a workshop or a group booking. Together we grow and produce what we believe is the best example of chestnut flour and chestnut creme products available, all made on the farm. We are excited to share what beautiful produce this valley, fresh mountain air, clean water and our wonderful soil produces. Wandiful Produce is born!