Multi-million dollar agri-tourism project to open next year
A MULTI-MILLION dollar agri-tourism project combining local produce, family fun and dining should open its doors in the new year.
Co-owner of The Farm Byron Bay Will Cotterill said the Ewingsdale Rd business would begin to roll out its farm shop and restaurant to the public in January.
"The concept is of a traditional, old-fashioned working farm, open seven days a week for people to gain an appreciation of growing and farming," he said.
"Our vision is to become a showcase of farming and regional produce.
In a green space spread across 32ha, The Farm Byron Bay will feature a farm shop, a restaurant seating 96 people, a macadamia orchard, a dam, a nursery for seedlings, more than 600 free-range chooks, Scottish Highland cattle, an avocado orchard, organic vegetable and herb beds, a piggery, ducks, a bottling plant, a bakery, apiaries, a cheese processing plant, permaculture workshops and more.
Future plans include a petting zoo, yoga and meditation classes, school holiday programs and farm tours. It will also hire out space for events but will encourage visitors to enjoy the space by walking through the gardens and bringing or buying a picnic.
Mr Cotterill, who has a small holding at Corndale with his wife, is in partnership for the farm portion of the investment with site owners Tom and Emma Lane, who own Byron Bay Cheese Company.
Mr Lane is one of the Lane family who founded the Oroton fashion empire. He will soon move his family - including four children - permanently to Byron Bay.
The ambitious project, of a size and scope unseen in this area, will combine the talents of some of the best growers in the area with Sydney entrepreneurs.
Contributors will include the likes of Greg and Vanessa James of Farmers Choice Organics, who will produce biodynamic vegie and herb seedlings, to apiarist Tim Malfroy and his natural beekeeping system.
The award-winning Blue Ducks, which has successful food businesses at Bronte in Sydney and Falls Creek in NSW, will run the eatery.
"They will do abundant, fresh food and keep it real," said Mr Cotterill. "We want locals, including families, to feel welcome here. It is about community, not just making money."
One of the advantages of The Farm Byron Bay, he said, was it would give local growers another venue to sell their produce outside the supermarket environment.
Produce will also be 100% free of sprays and chemicals, with the farm working towards organic certification.
Mr Cotterill said the Northern Rivers had a strong farmers' market network, supported by the community, and he expected the project to attract the same enthusiastic support from locals passionate about local food.
Will Cotterill, general manager
Originally from Norfolk in the United Kingdom, Mr Cotterill's father, Richard, opened the first organic fruit and vegetable shop in London after the war. Ye Olde Farm Shop was located in Baker St.
Mr Cotterill moved to northern NSW in 2007 and set up the Gourmet Garlic Company.
"You couldn't get good garlic that hadn't been sprayed with a lot of chemicals," he says.
"My wife and I started producing garlic products - including fresh garlic, minced garlic and garlic infused oils and balsamic vinegars - organically."
Some highlights will include:
A farm store with fresh produce direct from the farm's own crops and the local farming community. You'll find The Farm's brands - Byron Bay Cheese Co, Byron Bay Garlic Co and Byron Bay Butter, as well as local condiments, meats and poultry, gourmet deli foods, healthy treats and gifts.
The Three Blue Ducks Restaurant and Cafe. Renowned for their paddock to plate philosophy, Darren Robertson, Mark Labrooy, Jeff Bennet, Sam Reid and Chris Sorrel will use fresh, local ingredients, most of which will come directly from the restaurant's own garden.
The Bread Social. An artisan wholesale bakehouse headed by well-known bakers Sam Saulwick and Paul Giddings. Their speciality is organic sourdoughs and a variety of delicious croissants.