Whilst on his property in Federal one day, The Farm’s owner Tom Lane, of the Lane family who founded the Oroton fashion empire, realised he had lost his three-year-old daughter. Searching the property, he breathed a sigh of relief when he finally found her – sitting cross-legged in the middle of their vegetable patch, her t-shirt pulled out and filled with beans she had plucked straight from the stalk. Watching her sitting there with such joy, eating the beans she had planted herself, Tom had a revelation. If he could do that for his daughter, why couldn’t he do it for the rest of the community? From that moment, the idea of The Farm was born.
The Farm Byron Bay is exactly what it sounds like but with a twist – a fully functional working farm that fosters a community of growers, producers, eateries, educators and more. The property exudes a wonderful community vibe, with groups of children and adults alike wandering the paddocks with a sense of awe. From a growing perspective, the farm is all about sustainability – looking to traditional methods to grow its food, whilst remaining 100% spray and chemical free. Across its sprawling 80 acres, The Farm is home to 13 heritage-breed pigs, 35 head of heritage Scottish Highland cattle and a plethora of chickens, all of which roam freely and will be used for meat and eggs in the on-site restaurant, cafe and produce store. As you roam around the lush green property, you’ll spy flowers (all grown from seeds) sprouting from rich red soil, rows of fresh green lettuce, patches of wild sweet potato vines, and spiky ginger plants growing in harmony alongside coriander and cosmos flowers – each of which complement the others to grow. The Farm also aims to foster a community of local farmers on the site, leasing plots of the property to small-scale growers.
With the site once an old dairy farm, followed by a magnolia farm, Tom and his team have given new life to the existing buildings to create a welcoming community space. The old dairy bails have been transformed into a charming children’s play area, and the magnolia packaging shed houses the resident restaurant, cafe, bakery and produce store. Bronte’s Three Blue Ducks has opened its second location at The Farm, with the majority of its produce coming straight from the surrounding property and local suppliers. Chefs Mark Labrooy and Darren Robertson both worked under the guidance of Tetsuya Wakuda before opening their Bronte restaurant, and serve up a unique and delicious array of nosh for breakfast and lunch seven days, with the addition of dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The restaurant sits alongside its Produce Store, where you can pick up take-away meals and coffee, artisan bread from on-site bakers The Bread Social (a collaboration between ex-Bourke Street Bakery and ex-Harvest Cafe bakers), a selection of deli goods and groceries from local producers, and organic fruit and vegetables straight from The Farm. And just when you thought you had gathered all of the essentials for a perfectly stocked kitchen, you can also stop by resident florist and nursery Flowers at the Farm to pick up a colourful bunch of blooms to adorn your table.
With education a huge focus, The Farm also offers Fork in the Field Children’s Workshops with Alison Drover, which allow children to interact with a variety of growing, cooking and creative activities. The first incarnation of the series will kick off over the Easter long weekend, and you can browse the school holiday program online. In addition that, The Farm will also look to educate and enrich the community through Milkwood Permaculture courses, cross-fit training with Strength Revolution Boot Camp, and soon-to-launch yoga classes.