We have a shared passion for the environment, native plants and animals, and ‘wild places’. We have spent many summers lost for weeks in the spectacular wilderness of South West Tasmania and many late winter wanderings leaving crusty footprints on the upper slopes of Mount Feathertop in North East Victoria.
It was on a rare summertime trip to this area that the we first looked at local property.
Growlers Creek Grove is in Wandiligong, ‘Wandi’; a National Trust listed village that meanders through a picturesque valley, located 6km from Bright in North East Victoria.
On reflection, it feels almost like we didn't consciously decide to buy Growlers Creek Grove! We were 'chosen' by the ancient chestnut trees that stretch across the top of the grove, their branches reaching out to frame the breathtaking views across the valley.
I can remember as a young boy, my grandfather passing an old saying on to me; "grow vegetables for yourself, fruit trees for your children and nut trees for your grandchildren". We became caretakers of this stately stand of chestnut trees that could have produced nuts to feed the Kelly Gang in the late 1870's. We do a lot of work to care for and preserve their magnificent canopies.
Twenty years on and Growlers Creek Grove, after much planting & grafting, has around 200 trees ranging in age from 1 to 143 years. We have a philosophy of caring for, and improving the soil and trees without the use of chemicals. As a natural extension of this the property is certified organic.
Our approach is very ‘hands on’. We weed under the trees by hand and mulch using composted burrs and leaves.
Mowing the grove is a challenge because parts of it are extremely steep. As the trees mature, we are finding that mulching leaves rather than mowing grass is required. In an attempt to improve grass cover, we are experimenting with ovens weeping grass (Microlaena stipoides) a native, shade tolerant grass that grows naturally on other parts of the property.
Growlers Creek Grove is home to resident wombats and has regular visitors including kangaroos, wallabies. lyrebirds, kookaburras and parrots many of which enjoy the chestnuts as much as we do.
Harvest is our favourite time of the year. Gathering nuts under sprawling chestnut trees in the middle of Autumn in Wandiligong is hard to define as work. Our children Harry and Matilda love harvest. For them picking chestnuts is like hunting for eggs at Easter and the grove and surrounding state forest like their own ‘enchanted wood’.
For us harvest is rewarding in a very instinctive way. There is a deep satisfaction that comes from growing and caring for trees that produce food.
We produce a quality product that is picked, graded and packed enthusiastically on farm by us. We hope you enjoy our quality, organic fresh chestnuts available from April to June each year.