• John & Tara Butler from Heirloom Harvest

2016 Young Farmers Scholarship

A lifelong love of growing backyard vegetables, an abundance of enthusiasm and energy for farming as a way of life, that special feeling of doing something meaningful with your time and seeing the rewards for hard work led John and Tara Butler to create their business Heirloom Harvest.

Together they are passionate about sharing their knowledge with local community and their message is simple – food is the single most important factor in our wellbeing. John and Tara aim to grow good food, delicious with every mouthful, that is an exciting reminder of their attention and affection to freshness, flavour, chemical free, local production and traceability. It’s a philosophy that underpins the wider, true meaning of food security, and the importance of its preservation.

John has an impressive background. Having completed a Bachelor of Agriculture he developed an understanding of the underlying biology and science of farming, as well as business planning training. Working throughout a number of South Australia’s farming regions John gained experience in seed, wheat, barley, sheep, cattle and marron production. A stint in a research facility, a vineyard, native plant nursery and an organic market led to work at a local organic farm, which enables him to gain first-hand experience and technical knowledge of all elements of growing and selling fresh produce. Always striving to learn more, John is now completing a PhD in the pollination of native species in revegetation sites.

Tara is currently completing a qualification in Horticulture to assist her transition from experienced backyard gardener to growing commercial fresh produce and seed. Having previously worked in tourism public relations and marketing positions, Tara’s skills will ensure a well-balanced partnership that compliments John’s diverse experience.

Heirloom Harvest aim to grow quality, open-pollinated, safe, nutrition dense, chemical free vegetables and herbs, as well as seeds harvested from the produce with the most desirable characteristics. During business planning, John and Tara identified that South Australia has almost no vegetable and herb seed growers. Their passion for farming became a business goal to become the premier South Australian seed producer/retailer selling high quality, locally adapted seed to South Australian growers.

Significantly, more plants will be grown than required to harvest the seed. This will create a business opportunity to sell excess production as fresh produce. The two business streams are mutually beneficial as the fresh produce will provide a showcase of the seed quality while the seed selection will continuously increase the produce quality.

Heirloom Harvest vegetables, herbs and seeds will be sold direct to local and visiting customers at Willunga Farmers Market. John and Tara value the person-to-person interaction because it will allow them to not only share their knowledge and experience but also gain feedback about their products.

Currently, avid gardeners can purchase Heirloom Harvest’s seeds from their online store www.heirloomharvest.com.au.

Or visit Heirloom Harvest  www.facebook.com/HeirloomHarvest/    or    twitter.com/vegetableseed

Heirloom Harvest will be attending Willunga Farmers Market from June 2016, once their first crop is ready.