With the temptation of seeing Elizabeth and Paul's farm, spending some more time with the lovely Flower family and being in the midst of amotorhead car rally, Uwe and I decided to have a rest day after only 1.5 days of riding (very hilly, though).
After a lazy breakfast with the family, Paul took us out to the property first in their ancient Volvo, with working dogs eminating a strong odour from the back and then in the back tray of the Landcruiser ute mostly swept free of evidence from the last passengers - a couple of cows.
The Flower Farm (or Marney's Forest), has been managed organically for some time and has recently received organic certification. Land not used for crops or cattle has been left to regenerate and it has done a surprisingly efficient job. A hillside bare in Paul's childhood is now a substantial young forest.
Our work for the day (though not under great pressure) was to work along the rows of organic Tahitian limes on the east-facing slopes of the upper farm and pick the fruit for the next delivery to Food Connect in Brisbane. It was surprising to see how the fertility of the trees varied so much - some with branches weighed right down to the ground and others with little to pick. Recent frosts had turned many limes golden on one side making them difficult to sell in the mainstream market but fine for more open-minded Food Connect subscribers.
The lime grove is circled by dingo fencing to protect its grazers and weed controllers (young emus and self-shedding sheep) from these native hazards. The sheep were elusive but the emus were very inquisitive, especially with grain around (see photo above). Emus are extremely efficient eaters of broad-leafed weeds and the sheep of the fast-growing grass, normally controlled by toxic Roundup. And they fertilise as they go!
Back at the grand old family home in Kyogle, we revived ourselves with the divine Marney Forest lime cordial, destined to be a hit through Food Connect and health food stores, and later set to work hand polishing each lime with a cloth, ready for shipment. It was nice to know that the limes we picked would be enjoyed by many of my friends when they collect their fruit boxes next week.