Harcourt Organic Farming Coop Logo
Sunset view of the farm
June at the Coop

The Weekly Farmers Market has been going from strength to strength lately with more and more stall holders coming every week. A solid and reliable constant through our the chaos of the pandemic, it really is becoming a staple part of the communities food habits. Not only that, the subtle and more obvious community building that happens through this market is really what its all about.

Despite the shorter days and slower pace of winter, things are still rolling at the Co-Op. There are bare rooted fruit tree sales happening through Carrs Organic Fruit Tree Nursery, Tessa is waiting on the birth of some more calves which will mean another influx of milk into her system, Ant is continuing to take care of the winter pruning whilst having more time to focus on his important work with AFSA (Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance) and the Hoes are busy planning and scheming some exciting spring projects and Grow Great fruit hosted a very successful masterclass with world renowned soil and carbon expert Christine Jones called  “Under Story”.

Keep reading to hear more about what each of the enterprises is up to at the Co-Op and click on the photos at the very bottom of the newsletter to read our most recent blogs.

Sellar Farmhouse Creamery

Our newest arrival is Ginger; a 5 year old, Certified Organic Illawara dairy shorthorn. Finally I have a roan shorthorn and she even has a love heart on her schnoz!  She will calve in mid to late May so we still have a few weeks to build trust. She quite quickly discovered the joys of a butt scratch and we are well on our way to becoming friends.

It’s been such a spectacular Autumn, great rain, green grass, warm day, like all things in farming though, everything has some positives and negatives. Our heavy falls last week made it difficult to avoid some boggy areas and I’m already managing a couple of foot problems as a result.

Read my latest blog ‘milk comes from cows‘to meet the full herd.

If you’re wanting a standing milk order and you’re not already on the waiting list, sign up to the list on the left bar of thewebsiteand when milk becomes available to fill your order you’ll get an email with instructions on how to subscribe.

How to Buy Sellar Farmhouse Creamery Products

Come to the Castlemaine Farmers Market every Wednesday from 3:30-6:30 or for a standing order put your name down on the milk waiting list on the website and when product becomes available you’ll be in line for CSA subscriptions.

Tellurian Fruit Gardens

Good news! The first piece of good news is that I won an award for my fruit! Sonia Anthony from Masons of Bendigo nominated me for the Delicious Produce Awards and I was a winner in my category. Very exciting.

Delicious Produce Awards 2020

The second piece of good news is that I was successful in securing state funding for an infrastructure upgrade project. Somehow between now and October I will find the time to build a commercial kitchen! The space is already there (in the form of a shipping container) so all I have to do is fit it out.

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance AFSA

A registered commercial kitchen will provide our co-op with a whole bunch of new opportunities. The grand vision is that the co-op will buy low grade produce from our businesses and employ someone to value-add them for us.

In food sovereignty world, AFSA’s online forums about solidarity economies continue on Wednesdays. In case you missed the first two events (CSA and collaborative economies), follow AFSA on Facebookor sign up to their newsletterto here about upcoming sessions.

How to Buy Tellurian Fruit Gardens Products

The fruit season is over until mid Nov 2020. Preserves will be available at the weekly market stall in Castlemaine or online.  CSA shares will be available Aug/Sept. The HOFC newsletter is the best way to receive updates on CSA, Farmers Markets, weekly specials, Pick-Your-Own and Farm Shop hours. Or you can find us on social media @tellurian_fruit.

Gung Hoe Growers

The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.
We must get up and take that in,
that wind that lets us live.
Breathe before it’s gone.

Gung Hoe Growers

Frosty mornings, sparkling glittering landscapes that transform into blue sky and sun ray filled days are the flavour of winter thus far. Cool crisp nights and short days full of warm sun to thaw the delicates and encourage small amounts of growth. Occasional greys and rains and then back to the glorious sun…

Well you never do know what life s going to throw up and seems like this year is the year for all sorts of 

surprises…on the one side challenging and on the flip side, lots of opportunity for growth, creativity and re-imagining. Things are moving slowly for us now. Not out of lack of endless ‘to do’ lists and exciting projects but because of what life has thrown us. May saw us celebrate the end of the intensity of the Summer/Autumn harvest, Mel and I both celebrated our May birthdays with a week off each. Since then, the reality of the long, hectic and physically intense season has taken its toll on us in different ways. For me (Sas), horizontal has become the perspective from which I’m viewing the world the past three weeks. I’m back to basics, learning how to breathe again and care for my most important tool, me. Injuring my back has been an unescapable reminder that what we strive to create and live outwardly we also have to nurture within ourselves.  

Gung Hoe is able to keep functioning because we are a collaboration between friends, not just a ‘business partnership’. In the hard times we pull together to support each other in the ways we most need, with love, care and respect. If this was a solo operation, everything would have ground to a halt right now. But Mel is keeping the farm humming and finding her own rhythm that also gives her space to regenerate. 

Its times like these when we also really feel the strength and generosity of the community of spectacular humans that have come together around us and what we do. Take for example Deb…she’s a total nut bag and we love her to the ends of the universe and back. Just about every morning for the past 4 months, she has been coming and weeding for us. She does an hour or two of power weeding, whatever the weather, sometimes in the dark with a head torch before dawn, and then she’s off. She is a continual source of both inspiration, encouragement and just bloody practical help. I think she gets volunteer of the millennia award!

Read more of our blog HERE

Grow well…
Sas and Mel

How to Buy Gung Hoe Growers Products

We sel our produce every Wednesday 3.30pm-6.30pm at the Castlemaine Farmers Market- Weekly! Our weekly veggie boxes subscriptions will be ramping up soon, so stay tuned to the emails and social media for updates on how to sign up.  In the meantime if you’re feeling like letting someone else do the cooking, you can also eat our produce at the local cafes and restaurants who support us all year. They are: Red Hill Hotel, The Bridge Hotel, Lola Bistro, Red Beards Bakery, Togs, Sprout Bakery, Blackbird Cafe  and The Fig Cafe. ALSO…If you have any queries about our produce, contact us by email on gunghoegrowers@gmail.com 

Carrs Organic Fruit Tree Nursery

Organic Bare Rooted Fruit Trees For Sale

Carr's Organic Fruit Tree Nursery logo

Cherry trees are not the first choice for many backyard fruit growers, as they are seen as hard to grow, but we’re trying to change people’s minds about this. Cherries are the perfect tree for this area and climate. Now that Queensland Fruit Fly has become established in Bendigo (and was even sighted in Castlemaine this year), it’s much better to focus on growing crops that ripen early in the season, to give the fruit fly less time to get into the crops. You’ll still need to do all the normal things like trapping and netting, but you’ve got a higher chance of actually being able to pick fruit from early cropping trees like cherries. Some other great reasons to grow cherrie in your backyard are:

  • We have the perfect climate for cherries—a combination of cold winters and hot summers.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cherry trees don’t usually get many diseases. We’ve never had to spray our organic cherry trees for disease, and fungal rot is almost unknown in our orchard;
  • They also don’t get many pests (except birds—you do need to plan to net your trees against birds). Both pear and cherry slug, and cherry aphid can be mild and occasional problems—but we’ve always grown our trees organically and never had to spray for either of these pests.
  • It’s possible to have delicious ripe cherries on your trees from late November right through to early January (6-8 weeks) by choosing the right varieties to grow.
  • Cherries are super-healthy, full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (and reputedly a good treatment for gout).
  • Cherries lend themselves to preserving—dried, bottled, or made into jam or vinegar.
  • Cherries make wonderful home-made gifts, either fresh or preserved, and many varieties ripen just before Christmas. They’re delicious!

If you’ve been on the website you might have noticed that some categories of bare rooted fruit trees have sold out, but fear not, because there are still plenty of trees available. Because we grow so many different types of tree – but not very many of some of them – some sell out quickly. There are still twelve different varieties of cherry tree available. Tree sales are going very well this season, so thank you if you’ve ordered fruit trees from us this year, we appreciate it.

Here’s what we still have available (at the time of going to print):

  • Apples – 37 different varieties!!! 
  • Cherries – 12 varieties
  • Peaches – 8 varieties (yellow and white flesh)
  • Pears & quinces – 7 varieties

Orders will be open until June 30.

You can view the catalogue and place your bare rooted fruit trees through our Website or our newOpen Food Networkonline shop

Thanks everyone, Katie, Sas and Merv

How to Buy Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery Products

* Go to the the website, browse the catalogue and make your selection
* Orders close on June 30* The farm will be open for pre-ordered tree pick-ups and casual sales of left-over trees on:   Saturday 4 July, 10 am – 4 pm
   Sunday 5 July, 10 am – 4 pm
   Sunday 12 July, 10 am – 1 pm
   Sunday 19 July, 10 am – 1 pm
* Tree listings including information about pollination, timing etc., but if you have any nursery questions – please get in touch here
Join Katie and Hugh’s Weekly Fruit Tips newsletter (see the link below in Grow Great Fruit) for weekly updates on the nursery when we’re open.


We re-launched! On June 1 we revealed the new 3-tiered Grow Great Fruit program we’ve been working on for the last few months. Our mantra is to make abundant, free organic fruit a reality for all so we were aiming to actually reduce the price of our course. We introduced a bunch of new features (like an Annual membership and discounts to our online short courses), but also managed to reduce the price of the most popular level of the program, which is the Gold level – you can see the new program here.

During the month we also enjoyed hosting the “Under Story” Masterclass with the amazing Dr Christine Jones – if you missed it, you can catch the replay here. Christine is well known around the world so it was very popular, with people joining in from almost every continent. We also wrote and released a new guide to edible flowering plants to accompany the masterclass, as Christine advocates growing as many different flowering herbs and flowers around your fruit trees as possible. We couldn’t find an adequate list of them, so we wrote one!

Happy growing,
Katie & Hugh

How to Buy Grow Great Fruit Products

Free resources:

Short Online Courses
More than50 online short courses & ebooks (from $9 to $49, all sales go to the bushfire appeal until January 12).

Full Home-study Program
If you want the full program and maximum support (including unlimited one-on-one sessions with us), try the Grow Great Fruit home-study program

This month’s blogs…
(click on the photo to read the blog)