Brookfarm 14B Banksia Drive
Tel: +61 2 6620 9500
Fax: +61 2 6620 9599
Nestled in the Byron Bay Hinterland, Brookfarm is a sustainably-run macadamia farm, owned and operated by the Brook family. Pam and Martin Brook purchased the property in 1989 and 10 years later, fell into macadamia nut farming after receiving advice that macadamia nuts would grow well on their soil.
With 4500 macadamia trees in the ground, Brookfarm is a relatively small, however, the Brooks have also planted over 50,000 rainforest and eucalypt trees to create a long term sustainable environment. Last year the farm commenced a three-year transition to organic certification but they have actually avoided spraying any chemical pesticides for the past six years. This was achieved by creating two separate natural habitats to attract predators such as snakes, barn owls and “beneficial insects” to manage pests such as rats and nut borer moths. For example, one barn owl consumes 2000-3000 rats per annum.
One of the highlights of Brookfarm was how the Brook family opened their home to us and were so welcoming; everyone in the family had a different role to play in the business and they were all so proud and passionate about what they are trying to achieve. The holistic and sustainable approach to farming that the Brook’s had was really impressive and their concern for the environment was a real inspiration.
Pete, the farm manager was an amazing man, full of passion and knowledge of the industry and excited about the sustainable practices that they use at Brookfarm. The sustainable practices they use at Brookfarm include planting smother grass and smaller plants underneath all of the trees to prevent soil erosion. Pete has also introduced clever initiatives to reduce waste and water consumption by utilizing waste for natural and by creating tree canopies to rejuvenate creeks that had previously evaporated. It was clear that becoming organic would be a difficult and expensive process, but both Pete and the Brook family are very dedicated to the cause. Pete is a leader in the macadamia nut farming industry and has even started a regional information sharing website called Pest Web. This is a not for profit website that assists all farmers with pest control management by providing them with up-to-date information on pest movement and activity.
The main point of difference with Brookfarm is their value adding concept; this helps to differentiate their product from their competitors. The products that we tried include muesli, oils and walkabout mixes. Many of their products were also available gluten free. Their son, Eddy, even cooked a range of beautiful dishes for us, which illustrated the versatility of their products. Their overall professionalism and branding gives the impression of a much larger organisation, yet Brookfarm are actually a hands-on small family business with a very personalised and homely approach.