Karina & Adam Gersbach
Hi Karina and Adam. Tell us a bit about your background and your connection with the Manning-Great Lakes.
Adam went to high school in Forster, a few years ago now, left for around ten years and returned to run the family farm at Knorrit Flat.
I moved to the area around 20 years ago, so I’m nearly a local! When we met, Adam moved to town, and we married and had two daughters that added to our already blended brood of four.
Whilst we loved living at One Mile Beach, we craved the country and our own farm to call home. After about five years of searching, we finally purchased our 96-acre property at Rainbow Flat. We’ve been here nearly three years now.
You’re both busy people with a couple of amazing business ventures… so tell us a bit about those?
We started a trial 1,000 square metre organic garlic crop in 2017 – we were both working full-time at that stage. Around a year later, Adam moved to farming full-time, and we planted (by hand with some very devoted friends!) just under an acre of garlic, six varieties in total.
We had a few challenges – obviously, we were still learning (we still are!), but overall, we had a successful crop. We sold this garlic at local markets and via our online store. Things got pretty crazy on the farm, as the garlic needed to be marketed, value-added and we’d put our DA into Council for our Farm Gate Kitchen, so I left work to be on the farm full-time too. The wheels were in motion…
Fast forward to April 2019, and we opened our beautiful venue that not only showcases our organic garlic and associated products, and our pasture-raised Brangus beef, but also the amazing local produce (much of it organic too) that is grown in this area.
Our Farm Gate Kitchen offers an ever-changing menu of real paddock to plate, wholesome food. We bake all of our cakes in-house and serve Botero’s organic blend coffee. There are always gluten-free and vegetarian options available in our cakes and on the menu.
We love supporting other farmers, growers and artisan producers; being able to collaborate and share their beautiful produce is an opportunity to really put our region on the food map. In fact, our next Great Lakes Food Trail is coming up on 6th October 2019 — a great day to discover our area’s diverse food.
Now, let’s talk about your famous garlic… It’s quite obviously not just your average garlic, is it?
Well, we entered our best two varieties in the Australian Food Awards, never in a million years thinking we’d even rate a mention. When we won two Silver Australian Food Awards for both varieties, we were ecstatic — yes, I cried! All of our hard work had paid off.
What are the criteria that you had to meet in order to get to that level?
The criteria was broken into categories such as size, firmness, flavour raw and cooked, as well as overall visual appearance.
Our Silver Award winners, the Italian Red and the Rojo Del Pais Baza, are two of the nine varieties we’ve planted this year. Both kinds of garlic are strong and spicy!
Something else really interesting is the fact that you have WWOOFers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) from Taiwan to help with the labour. That’s such a novel idea! Tell us a bit more about it and how it all works?
We were lucky enough to have a couple of WWOOFAs (Willing Workers on Organic Farms Australia) stay with us during our planting period. Angel and Eric were such an awesome help for us, both in the paddock as they learnt about garlic and organic farming, and in the Farm Gate Kitchen. We accommodate and feed them in return for five days’ work on the farm a week. It was great to learn more about Taiwanese culture, some yummy recipes, and they were very entertaining with their stories of previous farming experiences in Australia!
So where to now? What’s your vision for the future?
Our vision for the future is to get our organic market garden up and running for spring, so we can produce our own fresh organic produce for the Farm Gate Kitchen. But long term, we’d like our farm to be completely self-sustainable. We are working towards this every day. Our 2019 garlic crop is going strong, so we are looking forward to some amazing organic garlic in time for Christmas!
Thanks, Karina and Adam.
Interview: Ingrid Bayer.