I’ve recently returned from a three week holiday in beautiful Byron Bay, where I was lucky enough to get a grand tour of Brookfarm and see the entire process of growing, harvesting, packaging and distributing their products (Macadamia Mueslis, Porridge, Walkabout Nut Mix, Roasted Macadamia Nuts, and Macadamia Oils).
It was such an eye opening experience learning about what goes into making a top quality, healthy product that I just had to tell you about it!
The business background
This Australian owned company was founded by Pam and Martin Brook who owned around 100 acres near Byron Bay, and decided to grow macadamia trees (native to Byron). Their inspiration for the farm came from Mick, Pam’s skiing legend father, who sounds like an incredible man (Read about Mick here). In 2000, after 18 months of trialing and testing, Pam and Martin sold their first muesli at the local Bangalow markets. Pam created the products and for the first two years, they baked and packaged in the local bakery; Martin would load the muesli into the back of his car and sell to local shops & cafes.
Since then the business has boomed. They are now stocked in most independent supermarkets, many restaurants, internationally, online and even on Qantas long haul flights! It’s interesting to note they made a philosophical decision NOT to be stocked in Coles or Woolworths.
Brookfarm has a massive warehouse in Byron Bay, a team of very passionate workers, their 100 acre farm, which is home to 4000 macadamia trees (which produce around 50-80,000 nuts each year), 50-60,000 rainforest and eucalyptus trees. They also won both the Telstra & MYOB Australian Business of the Year in 2007 – the first food manufacturing company to win this prestigious award.
Brookfarm is very close to their macadamia farm being fully certified as organic and to learn about the enormous work that needs to go into becoming organic is AMAZING.
Peter Barton is the farm manager at Brookfarm, and one of the most passionate, knowledgeable men I’ve ever met (read his blog here). If you had a farm, you’d want this guy running it! Martin together with Peter has worked tirelessly over the past few years to make the farm organic.
Firstly to become pesticide free is a nightmare. Peter has studied ways of fighting insects with insects, and the entire farm is pretty much pesticide free due to all this hard work. For example, they introduced a type of tiny (non stinging) wasp that lays its eggs inside the eggs of the insects that destroy the maccas – ingenious! The rainforest surrounding the macca trees creates an environment difficult for pests such as rats to live in, so that reduces damage to the maccas again. They’ve basically created an oasis that is environmentally balanced, and ideal for growing fat, healthy macca nuts!
The rest of the ingredients for their mueslis, porridges, and snack mixes are all sourced from the best quality suppliers, using companies that keep in line with their three P’s philosophy:
Passion for Quality, Passion for a better environment and Passion for great tasting healthy food.
Why it pays to be inquisitive
We know the saying ‘you are what you eat’ and I’m a true believer in this. But after my tour of Brookfarm, it hit home how important this really is. I realized that most of the time we really don’t know what it is we are eating. Even if we eat whole foods, and try to be healthy, how do we know what pesticides are used, if hormones or antibiotics are injected in our meat. My eyes have now been opened to the importance of understanding the entire process of pasture to plate. If it means paying a bit extra for the sake of our health, then so be it.
After my tour of Brookfarm, I am converted for life! I’ll be eating their muesli (Gluten free is my favourite!) in summer and their porridge in winter. Plus, I’ve got a whole box of their walkabout nut mix (individually packaged in approx. 150cal portion sizes) for snacks.
Visit Brookfarm to find out more or order their products http://www.brookfarm.com.au/
Note: This is my opinion only; I was not paid, commissioned or asked to write this. I do not receive any financial benefit from this article.