WHEN Nick and Fiona Haywood moved to Boorcan six years ago they were in search of something “much more fulfilling”, now they are keen to share the fruits of their labour with the wider community.
Originally from England, the couple moved to Melbourne 10 years ago and enjoyed a fun lifestyle of eating out, attending evening shows and an endless choice of sporting events.
Nick was contracting for a telco company and “life was great”.
“It just got to the point where it didn’t matter how much I worked or how much we earned, our life just wasn’t fulfilling for us anymore,” he said.
“It was probably partly an age thing, whereby you no longer seek material things and just want to be content and happy.”
So, echoing the BBC 70s hit series ‘The Good Life’, the pair tossed their jobs, packed up their belongings and bought a flat 10 acre property with “a gorgeous cottage” in the heart of Boorcan’s dairy country.
The dream was to live off the land – to grow their own chemically free, seasonally fresh vegetables and maybe make a few bucks along the way.
Fiona said she first developed an interest in fresh produce back in Devon, England where she worked for a greengrocer.
“In Melbourne I worked in a deli’ and that reignited my interest and got me acquainted with what Victorian producers were doing,” she said.
“But until we made the move to Boorcan, I had never grown anything, so it’s pretty amazing to see where we’ve got to now.”
Starting with one small trial plot, the couple now has two acres under tillage, and produce “probably a couple of hundred” varieties of vegetables and herbs.
Staying true to their ideals, no chemicals are used, which adds substantially to the daily workload.
It means the couple rise early every morning to pick off the snails and slugs and are constantly moving from one patch to another digging out weeds.
“It’s a lot of work, there’s no doubt about it,” Nick said.
“But the physical work has its own health benefits and there are plenty of endorphins released as you go along.
“Sure, you might flop into a chair at night and fall asleep, but the feeling of achievement is great, very rewarding.”
Apart from having a huge range of fresh food literally at their back door, the couple now has a large enough supply to share with the wider community.
Trading under the banner of ‘Salad Ways’ the pair is now offering $30 vegetable boxes and $20 vegetable bags for anyone keen to try their wares.
Filled with whatever is in season at the time, the box contains anything from eight to 12 different items, while the bag contains a mix of six to eight different items.
“I took a box to a friend at tennis to enjoy and then a couple of other people were keen to try them,” Fiona said.
“That morphed into Salad Ways and now I’m making weekly deliveries to Camperdown and Cobden on Tuesdays and Fridays.
“Customers simply order their bags or boxes via our website with the pick-up points at the Snout in the Trough in Camperdown and at The Butcher’s Cut in Cobden.”
Interested people can find out more at www.saladways.com.au or contact Fiona directly on 0437 443 109.
“This change of lifestyle has been everything we’d hoped for,” Fiona said.
“We’re not trying to make a lot of money from it, but it would be good to be able to cover the bills like anyone else.
“It would also be really satisfying knowing that other people are enjoying the food that we have grown.”