A trip to the Messina Farms
We took a recent trip down to the Messina farms to see what's been happening. First stop was our hazelnut farm in Seymour, which is just over an hour north of Melbourne airport.
News from the Hazelnut Farm
We've had the hazelnut farm for just over seven years now, which is an important milestone in hazelnut farming terms, as the trees take seven years to mature. Since taking over the farm, we have done a lot of work on the permaculture of the soil, to transform it from dry arid land into beautiful regenerated soil. Both of our farms use the no-till regeneration method, which has proven to be a great success and meant we can eliminate all pesticides, chemical fertilisers, as well as preventing natural erosion in the soil.
After a dry spell, we dug out 'inlets' or big holes to retain the rainwater which runs off the road. In doing so we can maintain the moisture in the soil, making it a more fertile environment for our trees, whilst catching a natural resource that would have gone to waste.
We've invested in a few shiny new pieces of equipment which means we can now clean and sort the hazelnuts, before bagging them and distributing our factory in Marrickville, Sydney to be roasted and turned onto pastes. The next full harvest will start in February 2024, so watch this space for new hazelnut flavours coming to our stores to celebrate mid-next year.
After hopping in the car for an hour, we reached our dairy farm in Numurkah.
Erindale Farm is home to 450+ beautiful jersey cows which supply all the milk for our gelato, plus we bottle it for you to buy in stores. We also follow sustainable farming practises to keep our cows as happy as possible and to produce the highest quality milk:
We also follow the no-till farming land care at the dairy farm. Our pastures at the farm have over 30 different types of plant life, all adding to the biomass, carbon sequencing, and most importantly providing year round pasture for our cows, as we don't feed them any artificial grains. Our practice is a 1:10 ratio, meaning that we seed and reproduce plant life at a rate that equals 10 years every year. Plus, adding lots of our 4 legged friends 'natural fertiliser' to the soil helps do the rest!
What else has been happening?
- We introduced our own bee hives 18 months ago, and now supply 100% of all the honey needs for Messina production, plus providing pollination to our farms and the surrounding land.
- We've installed multiple new greenhouses so we can grow our own mint. All the mint grown at the farm is cut fresh and sent straight to Messina HQ to be cold pressed and turned into Mint Choc Chip gelato for the stores.
- We have also started growing a huge variety of fruits and vegetables — which are currently being sent up to Sydney and used for staff lunches, but we're hoping to be able to offer the produce to customers in the near future!
- Our own chickens arrived 3 weeks ago so we can now supply our own eggs for production. The chickens also contribute to the land and pasture fertility and growth.
- 10,000 native trees are being planted each year for the next 3 years, again aiding soil health and permaculture.
The farms are pretty special places, constantly pushing the boundaries of producing the best possible product, whilst being as self sufficient as we can with supplying our own ingredients. We hope you can taste it in every scoop.
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