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Home grown in The Murray

Wymah Organic Olives and Lamb. Image credit: Wymah Organic Olives and Lamb

9 Dec. 2021 by Rochelle Vaisanen

Home grown in The Murray

Known as one of Victoria and Australia’s important food bowls, our region is well known for its meat and seasonal fruit and vegetables, but there’s much more growing in the Murray River region.

From a legume that packs a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits to award-winning table olives grown, picked and packed on a farm in New South Wales, our offering from local makers and creators is as varied as their stories about how their products were born.

Get to know two of our makers and creators, Lupins for Life and Wymah Organic Olives and Lamb.

Lupins for Life

Meet the family behind Lupins for Life.

So, what are sweet white lupins? This legume is packed with nutritional benefits that surpass the likes of quinoa or chia, which when milled can take the form of a flake, flour or crumb (to name a few).

Lupin has been consumed for centuries around the world in Europe, the Middle East and South America, but in Australia, was previously reserved as livestock feed.

Back in 2016 when Gary Drew was steaming and rolling the sweet white (Albus) lupin for stock feed he couldn’t believe we weren’t eating them like this too – they were golden in colour and had a wonderful taste and aroma. Combining this light bulb moment with further research on the nutritional benefits of the Albus lupin, Gary and Heather Drew launched Lupins for Life.

After 16 months of planning, research, and the painstaking development of a custom-made mill built from the ground up, Lupins for Life became the first company to produce premium products from the Australian sweet white lupins.

The Lupins for Life product line developed from Australian sweet white lupin, includes the world-first process to steam, roll and toast their lupin kernels – setting Lupins for Life apart from the rest.

It’s a family affair when it comes to delivering this product to Australia and the world, with siblings Gary and Chris building the business, and their parents, children, and other family and friends all lending a hand when needed.

While there’s an ongoing challenge to turn this unfamiliar product into an everyday kitchen staple, the family is passionate about educating people about the health benefits of their products.

The reward? Delivering a great tasting product that helps people with dietary concerns, while giving back to the land through soil regeneration and zero-waste production.

Have you tried Lupins for Life yet?

Shop online for the best local produce in the Murray

Wymah Organic Olives and Lamb

For some people, farming is a way of life from a young age, for Mary L Done from Wymah Organic Olives and Lamb, it was a path chosen due to a love of science, chemistry, anatomy and a fascination of how the earth, animals and humans come together.

Growing up with a father who was a bio-chemist and a long career in medicine herself, Mary left her career as an anaesthetist to buy a farm in the Wymah Valley, 400 kilometres north of Melbourne just over the border in New South Wales.

When Mary purchased the farm 21 years ago, her business started by selling and breeding stock, but with an appreciation for the ecosystem the land presented, she expanded the size of the farm and added olive plantations.

Passionate about organic farming, the decision to plant olives came from understanding the role the climate and the soil plays in producing a productive crop naturally. To that end, in 2011, olives joined the Wymah Organics brand alongside its lamb products. Building an integrated farm with rotational grazing, everything works together and the animals complement the olives.

While positive customer feedback drives Mary more than accolades, her kalamata olives recently won a series of awards at the 2020 Australian International Olive Awards, including, Campion Table Olive by Class, Best of Australian, Best of Southern Hemisphere, Best Table Olive of Show, and a Gold Medal in the category of Table Olives.

The olives are picked, processed and packed on-site, stored in a purpose-built insulated warehouse with fridge panels kept at a mild 18 degrees all year round, which is crucial when working with a fermented product that needs constant attention.

Location and distance prove to be a double-edged sword for Wymah Organics. Although its location is what makes the product so special, the distance proves challenging in moving the goods to a wider market through cold transportation.

Over the past 21 years, Mary has grown to understand how the pace of farm life hums – from the ancient hills and history of the land, spanning over 900 acres and with vertical climbs awarding views to the nearby snowfields. The farm is home to local wildlife, with 22 per cent set aside for regeneration.

Business aside, how the land has transformed from bare hills to a constantly improving biodiversity is something Mary is immensely proud of.

If you’re a lover of lamb or olives, find out about how to shop Wymah Organic Label or shop online for the best local produce in the Murray here.