Modern Farmer: Tell us a little about your farm.
Peter Carlyon: We are in the South Eastern part of Australia. We have seven acres right on the coast. We came to this property about six years ago with the intention of running a CSA. There really aren’t many CSAs in Australia, it is not a concept that is widely known. We are hoping that will change.
Robin Koster-Carlyon: It is a mixed vegetable farm, so it is the classic CSA model from America. You get every kind of vegetable that you can think of. Last year we had a 38 week season.
MF: It is winter down there now. What are you guys doing on the farm now?
PC: We just had our ten day holiday. At the moment we are planning our next CSA season, starting to seed, filling in cover crops, and just trying to plan where we are going to put everything.
MF: When did you guys decide to join Instagram?
RKC: I joined Instagram mostly because we are a CSA. I had been doing newsletters with pictures, but more the farm took over the less frequent those newsletters became. Instagram seemed like a great way of just instantly saying to people, “look at these baby carrots and here they come.” Giving them direct contact with the farm, where their food was coming from, and how we are growing it. It was only after a little while, I realized that there are other people out there farming, especially in North America. We could actually spy on them and see different varieties, because we are six months out. I could see different things we could incorporate into our next season. I could see something and actually write to someone and they would write back. That community aspect of farmers working together started growing. I have really enjoyed that aspect. It was completely unexpected.
MF: What was something you saw six months out and were able to replicate?
“We could actually spy on them and see different varieties, because we are six months out. I could see different things we could incorporate into our next season.”
RKC: Micro greens were something we had never dabbled in before. I was watching Turner Farms in Maine. I sent them some messages and said “I really want to do this for our Spring season.” They sent me a whole email outlining for me how they do the micro greens and ones that would be really good to start with. I was able to use that information to provide a pop up restaurant with their micro greens. We got onto their menu. That is one great example of seeing something, communicating directly with someone, and learning about it.
MF: Is there anything you are looking forward to sharing this coming week?
RKC: The only thing I have been thinking about is that it is winter here and the thing that will be unique about us is it is all going to be about soil. That is where it all begins anyway. It is a good time to highlight the variety of cover crops, how we built the soil, and some of the different aspects of our farm that may be unique.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
(All photos courtesy of Transition Farm)