The Organic Place is passionate about supporting local famers and businesses. We love hearing the stories behind the products we source; there is so much time, energy and hard work that go into them! Over the past year we’ve introduced you to some our fantastic suppliers like Bob from Bob’s and Chris’ Mandarin Farm, John and Jan from Zeally Bay Sourdough, and the team from Organic Growers Group. Today we want to introduce you to Gary and Angela from Mt Alma Fresh Organics where we source our beautiful mangoes and chilli from.
Tell as a it about Mt Alma Fresh Organics
Mt Alma is a 364 hectare, third generation farm, located in North Queensland. It was purchased by Gary’s grandfather in 1927 and used to run cattle and free range pigs. Back in those days no synthetic chemicals were used. In 1967 Gary’s father expanded the farm by another 66 hectares and introduced sugar cane. Along with that came the use of synthetic fertilisers and chemicals. In 2011 we took over the farm full time and decided to convent to organic. We became a fully certified organic farm last year. We continue to run cattle and grow sugar cane, but now also have an established market garden that includes a range of fresh organically grown vegies and herbs as well as a mango orchard.
Why did you decide to convert the farm to organic?
In a way, we feel like we’re getting back to farming how my grandfather used to – without synthetic chemical inputs. And since we have gone organic we feel more passionate about farming again. We’re excited about the changes and what’s to come. We’ve noticed so many benefits from organic farming; for example we now concentrate more on soil health and building up the organic matter. This allows for more water to be stored in the soil, reduces run-off and helps to grow healthier plants. We also have less pests and diseases than we used to.
Gary & Angela’s son picking some mangoes on the farm
Can you tell us a bit about the process you undertook to become certified organic?
Certification takes three years in which everything has to be grown organically, with only allowable natural inputs. The first year is called pre-cert, then for the next two years the farm is classified as ‘in conversion. This means you are limited to where you can sell your produce. The hardest step in the process was filling out and sending the applications. The paperwork was daunting. We sat on it for ages, even though we were already using organic practices. That was really the hardest step. After that we were on our way!
What do you wish more people understood about organic fruit and vegetables?
That there really is a difference. We’ve noticed that our organic produce tends to be more dense. While it doesn’t grow as fast as conventially grown produce it tends to weigh more. You can also really taste the difference. Our organic lettuces taste amazing – they actually taste like lettuce. To me, conventionally grown lettuce from the supermarket just tastes like water in comparison.
We totally agree, organic really does taste better! Thankyou to Gary and Angela for sharing your story with us.
You can purchase some of Gary and Angela’s fresh, certified organic mangoes here.