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Cindy Lever

What do you currently grow?
We grow a huge variety of produce. We are fortunate to be able to grow tropical fruit as well as fruit such as apples and citrus. We have a citrus orchard of oranges and mandarins, a few apple trees, a mix of nut trees, guava, plums and peaches, mulberries, black sapote. Our biggest crops are our blueberries and grapes and kiwi fruit. We have also just extended our dragon fruit, so hopefully will have some available to sell next year. Oh we also have bananas, figs, jabodicaba, babacos and cumquats. So many thanks I forget them all!

How did you get into farming?
We fell into farming after buying an established property. We were very lucky to buy a farm that was so well set up to capitalise on permaculture practices with a good bore and irrigation.

What do you enjoy about farming?
When we bought the farm the most exciting thing was being able to walk around with our children and pick what we wanted from the plants and pop it into our mouths. There is nothing better than eating fruit and vegetables straight from the plants. Being able to provide this for our children is very important and being able to instil in them an appreciation of fresh food and how it is grown and where it comes from is also very important to us.

Why did you decide to farm without chemical sprays?
I have bought organic food for many, many years and have long been passionate about eating well, particularly being vegetarian. My husband Howard works as a forest scientist so is also passionate about the environment and animals that survive on it.

What challenges has this created for you and how do you overcome them naturally?
Again we were lucky to have bought a farm set up to produce organic produce and we have carried on and extended those methods. All our large crops such as blueberries and grapes, plums and peaches are netted. This year we set up an environmentally, organic fruit fly protection method thanks to a well known local entomologist on Tamborine Mountain. This means our guava have been all edible. And in terms of farming practices we use a lot a manure from our animals - geese, chooks and cows.

What’s your favourite meal?
Favourite meal - that's one of the hardest questions. I actually love a mung bean recipe with lots of garlic, paprika and red onion and served with lemon and labna and rocket and avocado from the garden. Oh we also grow avocados. You can't live on Tamborine Mountain and not have avocados!

And of course our amazing Huli Coffee which we drink daily.

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