Hello there. We've made the front page of our local paper for the 2 week run over Christmas!
We're terribly proud, and are enjoying our celebrity status with the locals.
Here's what the article says...
Amy and Nic Paul and their children, Baxter (4 ½) Gretta (3 ½) and Monty (18 months), have built a happy and healthy lifestyle around the Organic Biodynamic dairy and poultry farm they have been leasing at Fish Creek for nearly a year. Amy is from America and Nic from New Zealand, but they find that South Gippsland suits them down to the ground.
Living the good life down on the farm
“HAPPY hens make delicious eggs!” says Amy Paul, who with husband Nic is behind Ruby Hills Organic Eggs, one of the newer stalls at the farmers’ market.
The eggs are produced by the 1,000 hens on Amy and Nic’s Fish Creek property (see photo on front page). They have been leasing the certified Biodynamic dairy and poultry farm of long-time Fish Creek organic farmers Ron and Bev Smith for almost a year. The farm is certified with the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA).
“We believe in producing a product that we relish eating ourselves and feed to our family. Biodynamic farming is a step beyond organic in that we enhance the microorganisms in the soil by using specific biodynamic preparations, use the moon as a guide for timing of practices such as parasite control and we use homeopathic remedies - for our chooks, cows and ourselves,” says Amy.
The family also harvest some of their own veggies and have a thriving orchard and a worm farm.
‘Free range’ and ‘grass fed’ are understatements for the chickens that produce Ruby Hills Organic eggs. These fortunate chooks have acres of grassy slopes (the farm covers a total of 250 acres) on which to wander each day. There’s little to stress them, either. The Pauls’ five Maremma sheepdogs keep the eagles and foxes at bay, and each night the hens bed down in a spacious hen house.
Nic also milks 70 cows once a day. They supply their milk to True Organics Co-operative at Warragul, with a fortnightly order to Red Hills Cheese.
“One day we’d like to make our own cheese, but we haven’t the time for that at this stage,” says Amy.
Life is certainly busy on the Paul farm, with three young children as well as all the chooks and cows, seven dogs, and 750 baby chickens.
“There’s always lots of help to collect the eggs, but no-one has yet put their hand up to help me milk the cows at five in the morning!” laughs Nic.
Amy takes eggs to Melbourne each week, where she finds it hard to keep up with the demand.
“We get lots of positive comments,” she says.
The Queen Victoria Market is the main Melbourne outlet, but eggs are also sold to several specialty organic shops. Locally, as well as the farmers’ market, they can be bought at Green Heart Organics at Inverloch, Aherns in Foster and at the Paddlewheel in Koonwarra.
“We’re always on the lookout for more local outlets,” says Amy.
She and Nic were dairy farmers in New Zealand for four years before jumping the ditch to Queensland. It was there that they started eating organically and decided that they wanted to produce a product they believed in.
“Ethical standards are much higher in Biodynamic and Organic foods than in commercially produced food,” says Amy. “It’s good to be part of the solution rather than adding to the problems that are facing the world with the overuse of chemicals and modification to traditional foods. In the end humans lose the race with the so called “cheap food.” We end up paying for it with our health.”
Ron and Bev Smith, who created this organic farm, still live up the road – they are building their own house and continue being active in Organic advocacy.
“Ron and Bev created such a magic farm. We feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to take it over and maintain their vision of organic living,” smiles Amy.
Life is good down on the farm.