Above: Gamila MacRury on her olive farm in Beechworth
Gamila MacRury started her artisanal olive farm nine years ago, with hopes of being a self-sufficient producer by 2021. Her experience is a success story for others wanting to make a tree change and transition from city employment to a small farm business.
In 2009, Gamila bought land near Beechworth, north-east Victoria, and planted a 600-tree grove with a mix of 11 olive varieties, knowing it would take 10 years to achieve a full crop of 10 to 15 kilograms of produce per tree.
Gamila now sells her olives at farmers’ markets, mainly in Melbourne, and supplements the income with off-farm work. Her plan to reach self-sufficiency on-farm is to connect with boutique retail outlets, then approach food service outlets as yields grow.
This year, Gamila’s trees produced 1.9 tonnes of olives and she anticipates reaching 2.5 tonnes in 2019. The enthusiastic farmer says she has clear plans for the future. “I’ll start local, with long-term plans for 50 per cent to go into in-venue consumption and catering companies, 25 per cent into retail gourmet and boutique shops and 25 per cent direct to consumers either through e-commerce or direct through farmers’ markets,” she says.
Are you involved in an artisanal agriculture business? Applications are now open for $5,000 Victorian Government grants to grow your artisanal enterprise as part of a $2 million artisanal agriculture and premium food program. See the new website at agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/food-and-fibre-industries/artisanal-agriculture