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Sunday 31 March 2013

Harris Farm: 'The Crop' - media famil

Visiting one of the Harris Farm Markets local farms as part of the launch of 'The Crop' initiative  - this one, at Kemps Creek in Sydney's West, along the stretch of semi-rural Mamre Road - was quite the treat.

Not only was it a great opportunity to get back to nature and see the root (get it!) of where it all begins, it was such fun to don old boots and get hands nice and dirty.

At the media famil we were met by Tristan Harris, one of three Harris brothers who work in the family business, and the son of the Harris Farm patriarch David who started this whole operation years ago - in 1971, in fact.

Here is the Harris Farm story:

In 1971 David and Cathy Harris opened up their first shop in suburban Villawood, NSW. The store was called Villawood Markets, and to this day David and Cathy Harris still remain hands on in the business. Harris Farm Markets employs over 1000 people and each year over 11 million customers are served across all their stores.

'The Crop' is the world’s first ever fan-grown harvest. It aims to help people understand the whole experience, from farm to store, so they can choose the freshest and best produce available to them.

Here's how it works: people who join the Facebook page can help cultivate a real crop of vegetables - broccoli, bok choy, or leek - and be involved in making choices from what crop is grown, to actual farming decisions like when to water or use fertiliser. They are then able to pick up their crop when its ready at their local Harris Farm store.

Here's a video to explain it further:

Tristan says that leafy green produce could be in store within 12 hours of being picked! He explained that Harris Farm has come to understand we're beginning to lose touch with how our food is grown and harvested.

After the tour around the farm - where we drudged through moist soil and picked our own crops and donned employees' hats to shield us from the sun - we were treated to a lunch cooked by one of the farmers using the fresh produce straight off the farm. It was the best, fastest, freshest Asian 'takeaway' I'd ever had!

Here are some snaps from the day:

All the glorious bok choy
Tristan Harris harvesting bok choy

Tristan proudly showing off the new bok choy crop

Our farmer picking some bok choy - which we later feast on
Grant Jones (News Limited) and I at our farm famil, and our farmer
See! I DID get my hands dirty! (Do you like my hat?)
Like what you see? You can 'like' it on Facebook here.

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