Author, Photo : Jowrney, Stacey
What is WWOOF?
WWOOF(World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a world-wide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchanges helping to build a sustainable global community.
21 NOV 2014
Mr and Mrs Mcnamara' opening year of garlic farm.
Stephen having interests to Jowrney's profession and equipments was worked for IT hardware related job before. As a vegetarian since 15 years old, healthy organic foods are his concerns. Two years ago, he was fascinated with growing garlic and traveled around the Australia looking for a proper place to settle. Finally he found here and much satisfied with the land ; well built log house, a beautiful garden with enough fruit trees, a good enough size of 4 hectare property. Kerrianne with a mild and comfortable voice is a therapist and had a healing center before. The farm name Garlic "Farmacy" is related to her profession. In the name she contained important messages to share the education of food and how the food acts on our body and to cure the disease by eating healthy foods.
As soon as moved here in March this year, they were busy to plant the garlic seed and have had an experimental year even until this harvesting time. They did many trials and errors, digging the sterile land here and there to find the suitable soil to plant garlic and also testing a few different garlic varieties 5 or 6 kinds to prove which variety survives well in dry rocky land.
Steven shows a map of garlic farm drawn by himself using computer. It's a kind of farm directory to explain very easily which variety is planted in which part of field. What we see, the garlic field looks very small like a crop laboratory with only a few rows of garlic. It's really an year of experiment. Unlike the map, there's no clear mark on the actual paddy so we are hard to know which is which from the shape of stem and leaf. At the moment, the kind host couple kindly explains us from the very first thing and guides us where we start working from.
Picking garlic is simple. At first, poke the soil ground the garlic planted by using shovel or three-pronged spear then garlic is easily pulled out.
Just shake soil roughly on site then move the garlics to workshop for cleaning step. It was interesting when we find the very clean finished garlic in Australian supermarket, 3 or 5 pieces packed in plastic net. Required cleaning like this ! Cut the rootlets and brush around the bulb in detail. Should be careful not to get bruise, losing goods value. The final step is to hang up the bundle from the ceiling 5 pieces each after scissor of dead leaves.
In the afternoon we pulled out in another field near hill. This land is more sterile so the garlic size is smaller. Stephen seem to be also disappointed a bit. Counting the number of leaves, he told that the bulb will not be bigger even having more days and we can harvest all of the two rows. Soft necked garlic White variety. Not to cut the stem away we were more careful to pick the garlic one by one. Most of the garlic distributed in Australia is Chinese origin and average price is just one dollar per kilo. Local produced one is 5 times higher than the Chinese but the quality should be better or organic graded. Stephen has an idea to sell garlic pickles prepared in Korean recipe through internet shopping channel. While, Kerrianne has a different idea 'garlic bunch' that people buy it for a Christmas gift. She shows us a sample with a red ribbon biding. A perfect goods enough. We hope they will be successful whatever the product is.
22 NOV 2014
6:30 am. Stephen is busy to go out in early morning. The day is to go a market research to a farmer's market which is held once a month. It must be a important chance to exchange many useful information between the real farmers sharing farm works, tools, harvest of the year, incomes and difficulties, etc.
While Jowrney is doing some design works in the room, Stacey and Kerrianne sit face to face in the garlic workshop. Stacey first let her hear about the past and travel stories, and not long after, begins to make some question about Australian life. In Austraila no children give a pocket money to their parents retired, rather somtimes parents support even grandchildren. There are full of healthy food if once tried to look for but people still eat too much processed foods added preservatives and chemical addtives. 1 of 4 Australian women suffers from breast cancer which is proven due to preservatives partly. Also they talked for long about stress which is an origin of all illnesses.
Last night we discussed a small gift for a prosperous Garlic Farmacy. A logo donation. That is what Jowrney did a design work during the spare time in the morning. As soon as he begin hand drawing, a few varieties of design draft were born. He did his utmost to contain the message of "farmacy" and organic symbol into the logo illustrated a healthy garlic picture. Wondering whether Mcnamara couple will like the logos.
Stephen asked for a help to Jowrney late afternoon. When he started the engine of his truck, he said jowrney we shall go. They are silent in the car on the way to go, for about 30 minutes. Stephen bought a 1 ton sized water tank and Jowrney helped him to load the tank on the truck.
On the way back Jowrney asked curiously. What the tank is used for? Next year's focus for this farm is cultivating garlic more closely to organic standard. Instead of fertilizer, he plans to use bacteria grown water so requires the water tank. It's not small to handle alone. Jowrney was glad to be helpful to him.
23 Nov 2014
Today we picked the elephant garlic. This variety is same family to leek, that has a big single bulb and reduced garlic flavor. In Korea, we have a famous local product "6-bulb garlic of Uiseong" in Korea. Elephant has a small seeds aroud the bulb and rootlets. Less attractive garlic but there's a harvesting pleasure to pick a big crop in one time picking.
In the afternoon we received an invitation from a artist neighborhood of Mcnamara couple. Glen&Jacky couple's garden is a real art park full of creative sculptures. We enjoyed swimming in back yard pool in a long time. At the same time it suddenly rained so cooling down the heat fast.
On the tea time table Kerrianne takes out in her bag - a copy of logo Jowrney designed. We forgot the logo as there was not a positive reaction from Mcnamara couple last night. She seems to want the logo to be proven by the artist. As Glen told that 'a wonderful logo', Mcnamara couple look satisfied with the logo just a little bit. It's good that they like it.
24 NOV 2014
Today's breakfast menu is a muesli with coconut. Roughly ground the ingredients, pieces of coconut, date palm, apple, and nuts in a mixer. A good meal is prepared with topping plain yoghurt and honey. This is the moment that limits of vegetarian frontier is extended.
While we are cleaning the garlic picked, Stephen is plowing the field using rotary tiller. It is not deep enough plow with a mini rotary. Besides, it make a noise because of rocky bottom. Stephen says that he had to repeat back and forth by 3 times in making one furrow. It's not enough to glow garlic in that furrow. Not possible to dig any more so the only way to raise the furrow is adding soils on it. That work is our duty next day.
Stacey served hard-boiled eggs for snack. Free range egg produced in this farm is smaller than commercial one but have a clear orange yolk. What a healthy product! When we astonished at the yummy egg, Stephen's pager was beeping. A fire alarm. Fire, sparked by last night thunderstorms in near forest. Stephen told us it's frequent in Australia and departed for a local fire station to help by getting water and emergency food. Wish not a big fire.
25 Nov 2014
It's a foggy rain. It would not so hot any more. Guided by Stephen, we planted a bean at the field that garlic was pulled up. What we have to do is begun to add the soil on the furrow and make another row between the furrows. We scattered seed bean of Cow pea and radish.
In the afternoon, we did a racking between the wood to collect the fallen leaves and tree branches under a leadership of Kerrianne. She said that she will spread them out in the kitchen cage racking with with love and care. We had to stop racking in a half hour because of bigger raindrops but it was a good experience to think over a good recycling example.
26 Nov 2014
We planted a bean at where Stephen plowed yesterday. The rain was not enough to wet the paddy so the soil is still very dry and not fertile. The first garlic crop that Mcnamara farmer harvested this year came from this sterile land. A great frontier couple of Mr&Mrs. Mcnamara! We admire how hard they did to cultivate such a barren soil and finally achieved a successful harvest. All sweat and effort of farmer is never ended in vain.
At the time of almost finished the seeding work. No...! A couple of guinea fowls pecked the bean seeds in the furrows and spoiled the paddy that we worked hard... how they knew to find the hidden bean. And the dog 'Clove" got into the field and played for chasing flex so our farming artwork was destroyed completely. That's why there is a fence around the garden, to protect it from livestocks. We started to rebuild it but Stephen told us just leave it. Need to make a fence.
Mcnamara couple respond to our interview. They have a very distinct difference in future plan for one direction also. If we take an interview with only one person, one of them might be angry. :D
We recognize and appreciate all your sweat and effort.
Wish you a great success of Garlic Farmacy.
If you donate for us, We will be cheerful ever :D