Firstly, tell us about Church Farm! What drew you to the property?
Well one Sunday afternoon back in 2012 we were going for a drive with my parents and we stumbled upon an old church for sale in Billinudgel. The charming 1930s timber building overlooked a cow paddock, was on a generous sized empty block of land so we could plant trees and grow vegetables, was 5 minutes to the beach and most importantly… was within walking distance to the greatest indian restaurant in North Byron – ticking all of the boxes (except for those darn floods). We have recently raised up the church so it will be high and dry in the future.
It’s a pretty special spot to raise a family. What lessons are your boys learning from growing up in the countryside?
After living in a few cities it is really nice to have space, especially now that we have two boys that apparently need to run around all day. Andrew is really great at getting Banjo & Percy involved with daily chores. Whether it’s collecting the chicken eggs, picking lemons for the roadside stall or digging up some ginger and turmeric for an afternoon brew, they are happy to be dad’s little helpers.
Oh and wear shoes and don’t stand on nails... another important lesson!
With two wild ones to keep busy, how do you spend a typical weekend as a family?
It has been a long and hot summer so the weekends have included lots of beach time, iced lattes, swimming, surfing, fire pit dinners, river picnics with friends and a couple of camping trips. Throw in a few loads of washing, some vacuuming and a few gelatos and that’s probably us.
Church Farm’s range of soaps, sauces and creams get a lot of love from the Auguste team. How did you get started?
Oh thats awesome, thanks Auguste team. We started by accident really. Years ago we couldn’t find any soap locally that was made with decent ingredients and without palm oil, so I read a bunch of soap making books and started experimenting in the kitchen with various herbs from the garden. I was about to have a brand new baby Banjo so I wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were putting on his skin.
Around the same time we had an abundance of habaneros so Andrew was getting into roasting different chillies over coals and making sauces – he has always been a pickle and sauce enthusiast. The garden was producing quite well so we started a little roadside stall to off-load some cucumbers and greens to our neighbours. After a while we started to sell soap and sauce on the roadside stall and from there we had a few shops get into contact with us about stocking our products.
We then started doing the farmers markets, got busy in the kitchen and made a range of sauces and curry pastes, picked up some great stockists around Australia, took on some soap manufacturing gigs and now it’s an actual real job!
And lastly, what are you looking forward to this year?
Semester break! I am finishing off a health science degree I started many moons ago and that combined with the business, the boys, school run, school lunches, renovations and life in general is a little crazy at the moment. However, Church Farm Naturopathy… coming soon!
Amanda wears the Edie Sweetheart Wrap Maxi Dress in Dusty Blue and the Edie Babydoll Mini Dress from our Francesca collection.
Check out Church Farm General Store here.
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