3 Aug 2020
High up in the hills above the Currumbin Valley sits some of the most beautiful and lush countryside of the Gold Coast hinterland. As you climb up Tomewin Mountain Road towards Freeman’s Organic Farm it feels as though you’re making your way to heaven and with the majestic views the property commands all the way back to the ocean, you could be forgiven for expecting to find the Pearly Gates perched there. Instead you’re greeted by the humble presence of a roadside fruit stand and the welcoming charm of the farm’s proprietor David Freeman.
David’s family has farmed this land for five generations, back to when it was established as Australia’s first banana plantation over one hundred years ago, a time when bananas were considered an exotic fruit consumed by the wealthy. Today Freeman’s Organic Farm has a diverse selection of produce – avocados, coffee, kale, peaches, plums, custard apples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, mangoes and much, much more.
On this particular day Study Gold Coast’s Mayor’s Student Ambassadors are visiting the property to gain a better understanding behind organic farming principles and to see how the farm is operated, as tour guide David shares his family’s proud history and a wealth of information about organic farming. He also greets each international student in their own language – Danish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian… a legacy of David’s global travels while serving in Australia’s armed forces.
David walks and talks the Ambassadors through every aspect of farming, including creating rich organic mulch, which gave the farm’s trees much needed protection through superlative moisture retention during the recent drought; and utilising natural insects such as the Anastatus wasp to manage pests like the fruit spotting bug – reducing the calcified lumps from two in every five avocados to now just 1% of the crop.
With fertile volcanic basalt soil, a north easterly aspect and idyllic climate, David says his farm’s fruit and vegetables have the flavour, texture and nutrient density that make his produce second to none.
As the Mayor’s Student Ambassadors stroll through the property David explains how significantly beneficial organic food can be for your health as they’re offered produce samples by their guide, from the sweetest bananas anyone’s ever tasted to nutrient loaded kale - plucked by David from his Mum’s once treasured lawn tennis court which now serves as a super-sized vegie patch.
The tour finishes with a superbly fragrant organic coffee with the students carrying some freshly harvested bounty and wide smiles as they head for home.