Torello Farm is a family business. Located in Dromana, 410 White Hill Road, just near Moats Corner. A market garden growing food using organic principles, although not yet certified. Tarello Farm gate also sources produce from local farms, some conventional, some organic. Their motto ‘Peninsula Grown, Grazed & Gathered’We caught up with Sophie O’Neile and had a chat about all things family, farm and business.
At Torello Farm, we grow a diverse range of produce including specialty potatoes, heirloom vegetables and tree ripened fruit. Our market garden is approximately 30 acres. Our produce is available in our farm shop along with goods sourced from nearby farms, our Tuerong grown Belted Galloway beef as well as homemade pickles, preserves and take home meals – all made with our produce.
Who or what inspired you to do what you do? Growing up our dad always had a huge vegetable garden that fed our large family. Torello Farm is really taking that concept to the next level.
What are your best practices for living more sustainably? As the property was quite run down when we purchased it, we currently have a large green manure crop planted to help naturally enrich our soils. We also have a significant compost program. Our shop is plastic bag free and we sell produce like mushrooms, strawberries etc in compostable punnets. As mentioned above, we grow food using organic principles.
Why do you grow food? We get a thrill out of educating people about the importance of seasonality. The supermarket model has caused such a huge disconnect for people’s understanding of where food comes from, but we believe there is a growing number of consumers (like you guys) who want to connect with the land and their food and meet the people who have produced it.
What do you do with the food you grow? We sell it from our farm gate shop that is open 5 days a week, Thursdays through until Mondays, 8am – 6pm.
What are the biggest rewards for you from your garden, farm & business? The biggest thrill of our business is our customers’ feedback. It is such a joy to serve people each week with food that we have either grown or sourced locally. Our customers are a very discerning food audience, and always up for trying something new. That encourages us to trial new lines and grow things that they may not have tasted before. We have just planted yacóns.
What is your greatest challenge in your business?We understand that bureaucracy is necessary, however it can really stifle progress. We try not to let it get us down and just keep working through it.
Do you have any favourite tips to share? Check out our website! Each week we pop up a recipe using seasonal produce that’s in its prime!
Are you involved with your community? We are really involved with our local community. We regularly host school groups, helping teach children about the importance of local food and where it comes from. We also have a partnership with Chisholm in Rosebud. Each week we use their kitchen to make our take home meals and pickles and preserves and we supply them with locally grown food which their students cook with each week. We also have students visit the farm to learn more about the produce they are preparing.
What inspiring message would you like to give to the community? We might quote Michael Pollan for this one. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
TORELLO FARM 410 White Hill Road, Dromana
all photographs courtesy of Torello Farm