Kim and John Sheean truly live a blessed life, raising Border Collies, alpacas, South African Boer Goats, bees, roses and citrus on their beautiful property, Avelon Farm. Located at Rollands Plains, Avelon Farm is home to an amazing array of livestock and produce, and John and Kim make the best of everything they produce …
Sweet honey? No problem. Marmalades and quince paste? Done! Fragrant roses? Of course! Combine these products with other local producers’ wares, and you now have the most spectacular gourmet hampers, delivered free to Port Macquarie. Thanks to Kim and John, you can have Christmas sorted in a jiffy!
What’s the history behind your property, Avelon Farm? How long has it been in the family?
We are the first owners of Avelon who are not a part of the Reid family (Reids Rd is named after this family). We purchased Avelon in 2011, after only one viewing. It was love at first sight.
The house was built in1902 and was the hub of a village called Bonnie Doone. There was a livery, a pub, houses and a bakery (the remains of which is still in our north paddock). The bullock drays, laden with timber and produce from Rollands Plains, used to travel along Rollands Plains Rd and stop overnight at Bonnie Doone pub and then continue on to the Wilson River the next day. Whilst digging in the paddocks planting roses and trees, we have uncovered some interesting items, such as iron sulky wheels, stirrups, horse shoes and small bottles.
You’re located at Rollands Plains, which is a beautiful area. Describe your farm … How many acres/hectares is it – and what’s the lay of the land like?
Avelon is about 28 acres, and the land is undulating. The view from the back hill is beautiful, looking down into the valley below.
John built a shed on this back hill for storage for his gardening utensils, but I thought this was a waste of such a beautiful view. I envisaged a lovely bottle of chilled wine, cheeses, nuts and pate, so we now have a BBQ, tables and chairs and no tools in our back shed! Tools are in the garage, where they belong! We have also held several puppy parties on the back hill. What could be better than good food, good wine and puppies!
You have a few different enterprises on the go at the farm. Firstly, tell us a bit about the horticulture side of the business. What types of roses and citrus do you grow, and where do you market them?
John and I both love roses and believe that if you plant a rose it should be fragrant, so all our roses, from Treloars in Victoria, are scented. We started with 100 roses, but soon found there was a gap in the market. Nobody was growing fragrant roses, which is very hard work, as they have to be grown in the open air (not hydroponically) to allow the fragrance to remain.
We battle droughts, bugs, grubs and black spot, and it is very difficult with just the two of us tending them on top of everything else, but we love it anyway. We now have 1,300 rose bushes.
We also grow lemons, limes, lemonades, mulberries and parsley, and we also have two bee hives. The honey we harvest from these hives is very sweet and fragrant, as the bees are feeding off the roses. The honey is not tampered with at all and is poured straight into the jars after going through a filter. It has proved to be very popular with our customers. The only problem is, we can’t harvest enough!
Another by-product of the roses is my home made potpourri from the petals of the blown roses. We sell our cut roses to various premises in Port Macquarie CBD, including the Catholic Administration office, several real estate offices, Essential Energy and many private customers, to whom I home deliver.
I will also be delivering bunches to Garden Village Café for sale and Crazies coffee shop in the Galleria. If there are any other venues where my roses will be available, I will notify on our Facebook page and website. Customers can contact me direct for any orders. I deliver three times a week in the Port Macquarie area at no charge.
Introduce us to your beautiful Border Collies. How long have you been breeding this type of dog – and why this breed in particular?
We have been breeding Border Collies since 2013 and decided on this breed as John’s sister was breeding them in Narramine, and we knew they were intelligent and lovely looking. We didn’t realise how loving, loyal and interesting they were, until we welcomed our dogs into our family. We have many clients who purchase one pup and then return soon after to add another pup to their family, as they love them so much.
I make sure our pups go to suitable homes, where they will have plenty of company and get plenty of exercise. It is always a big wrench for me to hand over my babies to their new parents, but I know these pups make a very positive impact on any family, which makes me feel a bit better.
I’m not aware of too many South African Boer Goats locally. What can you tell us about the breed?
Our bloodline is from a famous sire, Warlord, who was exported to Brazil in 2005 to assist towards the perpetuation of Boer goats in South America. Warlord was one of the most successful sires produced in Australia.
John originally wanted to breed the goats for our own meat, but I fell in love with them and started naming them with our grandchildren’s and children’s names. He didn’t have the heart then to send them to the abattoir. Mission accomplished!
We treat our goats as part of our extended family, which is growing quite big now with goats, alpacas, dogs, a cat, cattle and chickens all adding to our menagerie. We sell the bucks and some of the does we rear for breeding purposes, due to their excellent bloodline.
What other animals do you raise on the farm, and how do they help with the day to day running of your enterprise?
We also have alpacas, which we introduced to guard the goats – especially the baby goats. It is fascinating how protective the alpacas are. We actually witnessed their amazing protective instincts first hand when one of our neighbours’ dog entered the goat paddock. The alpacas herded the goats against the fence nearest the house, then turned around and faced off to the intruder in an arrow formation. The poor dog was terrified, and I had to lead him out to safety. Wild dogs and foxes are a problem on neighbouring properties, but we have not had one animal killed by predators on our property since we have resided here.
Creating beautiful hampers is yet another arm of your business. What products do you use as stock for this purpose?
We decided to create beautiful hampers as another branch of our business, to promote the wonderful produce available from our local farms. The more I researched what was available at local markets, the more I realised what a diverse and high quality range of products were available right on our doorstep. Not only do we use our own brand, Avelon Farm, of jams, quince paste,
balsamic essence, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, 100% pure honey and orange infused olive oil, but also East Coast Gourmet chutneys and jams, Westview Limes harissa and dressings, Wilmaria olive oils and olives, Barbushco native jams and tea, Baba Lila handmade chocolates, Lorne Valley macadamia nuts, Mountain Goat soap and Aunty Cookie liqueur jams and prunes.
We also can include Ricardoes’ products in our hampers, and we can custom make the gift baskets to suit individual tastes and price ranges.
I deliver hampers free in the Port Macquarie area, and postage to Sydney or Queensland is usually around $17. Other areas in Australia are at cost postage.
How important is it to you to support other local producers?
We are very passionate about supporting our local farmers, not only because their products are second to none, but also to help develop our local economy. Encouraging and supporting local businesses also helps the local community by bolstering our economy and keeping money in our own area and developing employment opportunities. We know from experience now how difficult it is to stay afloat financially on the land, and we believe diversification is the key.
Where can we find out more info about Avelon Farm, or contact you?
We can be contacted via our Facebook page: Avelon Farm, our website: avelonfarm.com or email: email@example.com, mobile 0407 148 089 and home phone 6585 8221.