From 10 – 12 June, some interesting and productive local farms and agribusinesses will open their doors to the public for the 2017 Hastings Landcare Farmgate Tour. Purchasing a self-drive booklet will give you the chance to explore some of the beautiful back roads of our area, and an opportunity to experience our local primary production industry, while you sample, sip, scent and taste our local produce. Koree Herbs is just one farming enterprise you can experience over the weekend … Owners Jan Olive and Lauchlan Hollis tell us more.
What’s the history behind your farm business, Koree Herbs?
With history that spans four generations of farming dating back to 1856, we (Jan and Lauch) returned to the family farm in 1992. The property was originally a dairy farm, converting to beef in1975.
We established Koree Herbs 25 years ago, trialling garlic and herbs i.e. Lemon balm, Calendula, Rosemary – which we dried for the medicinal herb market. We ventured into growing Australian native trees for essential oils in 1998.
Koree Herbs was certified organic in 1994 and now specialises in the production of garlic, hay and essential oils.
Describe your property …
Koree Herbs farm is 20 ha of alluvial flats, 15 minutes west of Wauchope. It is situated on a sweeping bend on the Hastings River with views to Bago – a stunning, scenic property. The farm is one of only three on Koree Island itself.
You produce some beautiful essential oils on your property, including Rosalina, Lemon Scented Tea Tree and Tea Tree. What can you tell us about the properties and uses of each of these essential oils?
Koree Herbs harvest and distil a variety of essential oils, with most going to Sydney Essential Oil Company, with whom we’ve had a close working relationship over the past 20 years.
Here are details about the oils we produce:
Lemon Scented Tea Tree – Leptospermum petersonii – head cleaning, fresh, lemony scent – this oil has been used to relieve sinus, colds and flu. It is said to have anti-infectious and anti-viral properties. Great room freshener and insect repellent.
Eucalyptus staigeriana Oil – this unique Australian oil is commonly known as Lemon-Scented Ironbark. It has a fresh lemon perfume, great for masking unpleasant odours. Use in place of any lemon scented oil.
Tea Tree Oil – Melaleuca alternifolia – the most well known of all the Australian essential oils. Used since the 1920s for burns, bites, acne, wounds, warts, cold sore and nits – this is really a first aid kit in a bottle.
Rosalina Oil – Melaleuca ericifolia – wonderful for upper respiratory tract infections and a soothing local anaesthetic for insect bites, toothache, cuts and grazes. A calming oil, good for stress disorders; a few drops on the pillow at night aids sleep.
Niaouli Oil – Melaleuca quinquinervia – this oil has antiseptic properties and aids the healing of cuts and burns. Excellent for respiratory problems. Use in the treatment of colds, coughs and sinusitis. Can be used in place of Eucalyptus oil.
How to use these products:
- Moisturising lotion add 6 – 8 drops of essential oil per 100 ml moisturiser.
- Massage oil – Add 5 drops of essential oil per 10 ml carrier oil.
- Bath – mix 10 – 20 drops of oil with a little milk and add to bath.
- Oil burner or vaporiser – 5 – 10 drops of oil in burner or vaporiser
What else do you produce on site?
Apart from essential oils, Koree Herbs produce organic garlic and hay. The award winning garlic (winners at the Royal Easter Show and Wauchope Show) is marketed locally at Wauchope IGA, Growers Market, Ricardoes and Ecowild, and seed is supplied to organic seed companies.
The hay is used on the farm and sold as feed and mulch hay.
You mentioned Koree Herbs is also a certified organic property. Why did you follow the often involved/complicated process of applying for and achieving your organic certification?
Choosing to farm our property organically addressed all our concerns about the property’s capacity to maintain a viable farming enterprise. We feel the success of the farm is based on sustainability and best practice in organic farming. Healthy soils create good plant nutrition and quality produce.
We believe in farming for the future, as our passion for farming is an extension of the way we live. A certified organic farm is about balancing the relationship and dependencies between soil fertility, crop quality and the environment.
We have found our organic farming journey rewarding, and encourage others to go slow and let your business grow with your knowledge, skills and experiences.
What are some of the processes you use on the farm to ensure plant health?
To ensure soil fertility and plant quality, we maintain organic matter levels in the soil, balanced with commercial production. This is achieved by ploughing in green manure crops, applying compost made on farm, seaweed and fish emulsion.
We soil test every two years to check mineral levels. Compost is made on farm from biomass from the distillery, legume hay and refuse from the garlic shed. We maintain soil structure by control traffic row cropping.
Once your plants are harvested, where does distilling the oils and further processing take place?
Distilling of tree crops occurs on farm. We harvest into one tonne bins, which are then steamed for two and a half hours per bin.
Harvest takes place in July and August annually. Oils are sold to Sydney Essential Oil Company. Oils are also sold locally at Ecowild and Bago Vineyard.
What will visitors to your property experience during the Farm Gate Tour?
We look forward to welcoming our guests at the Landcare Farm Gate Tour. We’ll offer expertise and enthusiasm, as guests wander through the new garlic crop and tree crops that are close to harvest. Products will be available to sample and purchase.
We are members of Landcare and are active in the regeneration and biodiversity of our part of the banks of the Hastings River. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Daintry Gerand (recently resigned Landcare co-ordinator) for the great work she did with us over many years.
Thanks Lauchlan and Jan. Interview by Jo Robinson.
2017 Landcare Farmgate Tour: meet local farmers and land custodians and enjoy a family friendly day exploring the back roads of the Hastings.
$30 per self-drive tour booklet – booklets available at: www.hastingslandcare.org.au or at Hastings Landcare, 44 Cameron St, Wauchope, Ph. 6586 4465 or at the Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre (Glasshouse).