Adelong duo forge a farming future

Louise Freckelton, who together with her husband owns Highfield Farm and Woodland, have a policy to market their produce as locally as possible.

Louise Freckelton, who together with her husband owns Highfield Farm and Woodland, have a policy to market their produce as locally as possible.

For a little more than six years Highfield Farm and Woodland at Adelong, NSW has been producing Dorper sheep, Dexter cattle and pasture raised poultry for eggs and meat.

Everything raised on the property is sold through local farmers' markets, cafes and wholefood shops.

Louise Freckelton, who together with her husband owns the property, said they have a policy to market their produce as locally as possible.

"Local people deserve good food and we are trying to minimise the food miles in our food," she said.

"Besides which Sydney and Canberra already get lots of good food."

The farm is two thirds conservation area and only one third farming.

"Two thirds of Highfield protects critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland and the diverse species that rely on that habitat," Louise said.

"So far we have identified 127 different bird species here, including several rare and endangered species."

Like any farming enterprise, the pair have faced challenges in their time on the land.

"My husband would say the biggest challenge has been fencing, for me, its dealing with the dreadful summer heat and waiting for rain," Louise said.

Dexter cattle call Highfield Farm and Woodland home.

Dexter cattle call Highfield Farm and Woodland home.

The challenges have been amplified due to the fact the pair are self confessed "city escapees".

"We came to Highfield with no knowledge of farming at all, but with a passion for food, animal welfare and the environment," Louise said.

"We call ourselves accidental farmers. We initially bought Highfield for its conservation value and to enjoy a quiet life in the bush. But soon the farming bug bit and we bought our own sheep.

"We have taken it step-by-step from there. But our focus is diversity - diversity in the animals we raise and diversity in the conservation area through supporting and maintaining that habitat. "

There have of course been many stories of success along the way.

"Our greatest successes have been the sheer delight in receiving fantastic feedback about our food," Louise said.

"We've had customers say they will never buy a chicken from anyone else, who say it is the best lamb or beef they have ever had, who only buy our eggs. That very personal interaction with people over our food is just a delight."

Louise said the long-term aim is to transition their paddocks to regenerative and holistic grazing and management.

"The drought has made that transition a little slower," she said.

"We want to be part of the solution in our paddocks as well as in our conservation area. We will get there."

Dorper lambs enjoy the rolling hills at Adelong, NSW.

Dorper lambs enjoy the rolling hills at Adelong, NSW.

They have also made the decision to branching out into tourism. Currently, there are two Youcamp sites so guests can stay in their conservation area.

"We are about to build an Ecohut to offer rustic luxury accommodation to guests, complete with farm stay and bush stay experiences and with the option of eating purely from Highfield I hope," Louise said.

Each year they hold an Open Farm Day to allow customers to see their production systems, ask questions and to get up close and personal with the animals.

You can buy Highfield Farm products at Riverina Producers Market - Wagga Wagga, Tumut Farmers Market - Tumut, Murrumbatman Village Market - Murrumbatman, Albury Wodonga Farmers Market - Albury, Simply Wholesome - Tumut and via on-farm sales.

Visit www.highfieldfarmwoodland.com for more information about Highfield Farm and Woodland.

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