Matthew Evans

The gourmet farmer

by The Huon Valley

Once one of the most feared food critics in Sydney, Matthew Evans earned the respect of his readers with his honest, and sometimes scathing restaurant reviews. He often noted that the produce served, was not of a quality that could be found at local farmers markets. In 2008, Matthew embarked on one of Australia’s most high profile tree changes, beginning a new chapter on his own small farm in the Huon Valley.

“I came to the Huon because, in the first instance, I was attracted by the beauty of the place, the fact it gets more rain than some places near Hobart, and ultimately because I love the mix of people that really make the place.”

The Gourmet Farmer

Transitioning from big city living to becoming a bona fide farmer, with virtually no experience, would be a daunting task for anyone. Having a camera crew follow your progress certainly adds another layer to the story.

Matthew’s determination to succeed at his new life has been documented in the hit tv series, Gourmet Farmer. Beamed into households across the country, the show has followed Matthew’s progress over a number of years and inspired many to think about where their food really comes from.

“I believe it’s good to eat seasonally, to source food locally, and to care about what you put in your mouth and the mouths of your loved ones. This builds vibrant families, vibrant communities, and mutual respect amongst all the people who make the Huon what it is.”

The People Make the Place

“My best trade secret is to love thy neighbour (or at least like them enough to look to them for support). What your neighbour knows about this land, how much they can help you achieve what you want in life, and how you can get the most out of the season, the soil, the seas around, is more than you can learn in any book.”

When you live in a community, where the your neighbours share your ethos, it truly feels like home.

“It’s a like minded community, where milking a house cow isn’t unusual, turning a pig into your own sausages is quite a normal thing to do, and having access to farm fresh produce is the norm.”

The Fat Pig Farm on Facebook
The Fat Pig Farm on Instagram

I don’t think I would have done as many amazing things if I wasn’t so inspired by the beautiful surroundings and magnificent produce of the Huon.

- Matthew Evans

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Howard Hansen

We are in the health food business

by Huon Valley

Growing up in the orchard, surrounded by delicious fruit that his family has been growing for generations, Howard is now the driving force behind one of Tasmania’s largest growers of apples and cherries.

“I am the without doubt a product of the Huon Valley. (I was) Born here, spent 41 of my 43 years on this earth living here..”

Hansen Orchards

The fruit growing industry in Tasmania has experienced times of extreme growth and equally extreme decline. It’s only those orchards that continually innovate and move with the times, that are still supplying premium fruit to both local and international markets. Growing delicious apples and cherries is an art that the Hansen family has perfected over the generations.

Howard has a firm belief on what makes the Hansen Orchards fruit so special.

“The cool climate and long growing season of the Huon Valley is the perfect environment for growing crunchy red apples with a long shelf life. It also allows us to have the latest maturing cherries in the southern hemisphere. Our cherries are bigger, sweeter and firmer than those from warmer growing regions around the world”

What make a successful orchard?

“I believe… the harder you work the luckier you get. We are in the health food business, producing outstanding quality fruit from sunlight and water”

My great grandfather planted his first orchards at Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula in 1887. He had 6 sons who were all apple growers in the same area. My Grandfather Rupert purchased an existing orchard and moved his young family to the Huon Valley in 1944 and we have farmed here continuously ever since.

- Howard Hansen

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Kelly Bennett

The valley was calling me

by Huon Valley

Kelly grew up with her family’s 4th generation property in the Huon Valley. Like many children growing up in the area, Kelly and her two brothers learnt to make their own fun while taking advantage of the beautiful surrounds.

It wasn’t until completing her nursing degree in later years, traveling the world gaining valuable experience, that Kelly felt a calling. A calling to return home to her grass roots in the Huon Valley.

Home Hill

The Huon Valley sits on the same degree of latitude as Bordeaux in France (albeit forty-three degrees south of the equator rather than north). These regions share a similar climate, with winters featuring fog, frost and snow, and an abundance of spring rain. This allows for the slow ripening of fruit during warm months and the perfect conditions for cool climate wine to be produced.

In 1992, Kelly’s parents Rosemary and Terry identified a perfect vineyard site on the lower reaches of their family property. With careful planning, what was once a small hobby farm, is now an award winning vineyard known for producing some of Australia’s top quality Pinot Noir.

Returning in 2001 to help with marketing of the Home Hill, Kelly would also take up the role of managing the new restaurant and cellar door being built on site. The design brief was that simplicity is important – Allow the buildings to blend into the surrounding rolling hills, while taking in the views of the Sleeping Beauty and Mount Wellington mountain ranges.

The Jimmy Watson

As any winemaker or vineyard owner will attest, winning awards for your wine is a good feeling. Not just because of the nice shiny bottle sticker, because it helps recognise everyone involved throughout the winemaking process. From managing the vines, turning the fruit into wine and those presenting the wine for your customers to enjoy.

Winning the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy, awarded annually to Australia’s best red wine, must give you a real buzz! This is exactly what happened in 2015 when Home Hill won the award with the “2014 Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir”, named after Kelly.

Kelly’s Trade Secret?

“My trade secret…. Having a loving family and a community that lends support when required.”

Do yourself a favour and check out the following channels:
Home Hill Wines on Instagram
Home Hill Winery on Facebook

I enjoyed the lifestyle on the property & loved the clean fresh air, freedom of being outside and working on the property, feeding the cows, riding motor bikes and billy carts.

- Kelly Bennett

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