Orchardist and Farmer
ORCHARD EXPERIENCE – McMAHON BROS. ORCHARD
Location: Pozieres near Stanthorpe, Granite Belt Wine Country, Queensland
McMahon Bros Orchard is a 4th Generation farm offering seasonal tours, including ‘Brunch in the Blossom’ in spring. Private booking and events available by enquiry.
Growing a range of orchard crops as well as vegetables and berries.
What year did you begin as an orchardist there?
I returned to the farm full time in February 2020.
What made you decide to become an orchardist?
It has always been the long term plan of my Brother, Paul, and I to return to the farm, along side our parents to continue the next generation of farming.
What did your introduction to the career look like?
My introduction started out like most kids on the land. Working school holidays and when we can to help out. Our parents created a very good environment for us to grow a passion for farming. Given enough responsibility to be a part of the business but never pressured into making this our only choice for the future. I believe this environment was key for us to make our our choice that this was the life for us.
Did you have a career before?
Following high school, I completed by studies in Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland. I had the privilege with working on a lot of amazing project across the East coast of Australia and in the Northern Territory.
What does your day-to-day actually look like?
Our day kicks off with a quick meeting in the morning to look at the key points for the day. From their our family and long term employees split off and mange different areas of the farm, whether its picking, packing irrigation or the constant maintenance jobs that come along with running a farm.
At 10am Dad, Paul and I always looked forward to a very nice breakfast prepared by mum. Omelettes which goats cheese, bacon, toast and which ever tomato relish is on the go (often gifts from people that turn our produce into amazing products)
(Right now in March 2021) We are just on the tail end of our biggest part of the harvest season. This has seen up to 20 backpackers working here since the new year. For 20+ years mum and dad have hosted dinner, drinks and live music in their home for the workers every second Friday night. This gives us an opportunity to meet all of the amazing people that come through our farm and thank them for being such a crucial part of our operation.
Tell us about the products and what if anything you are best known for…?
Historically we are an apple farm. In 2000 we converted a large portion on the farm to Organics and this is our focus for our products. In summer we will see a big variety of products leaving every week from Apples, Pears, Stone Fruit, Strawberries, Blackberries, Tomatoes and much more.
We care about the end product and as a primary producer your main hope is the consumer recognizes this passion for growing and enjoys the fresh fruit and veggies.
Do you have a favourite fruit variety you grow, or one you are most excited about and why?
It’s always a very nice time of the year when you get new season apples. As a passionate cook however I get most excited about our range of heirloom tomatoes. Their flavour and versatility in cooking is amazing.
Do you have a favourite tool in your trade, that you just couldn’t live work without?
For us, I believe our strongest tool is our team. Starting with a strong family unit, which I see filters very quickly through the whole team.
What do you wish everyone knew about your produce or your tours?
The orchard tours impact people in many different ways. Some groups are interested in history, others the process in growing. As a farmer opening up the farm to tours the most satisfaction comes from guests asking lots of questions and having the ability to tell them some things they never knew about farming.
When you’re not in the orchard, what do you like to do out and about on the Granite Belt?
My life outside of farming heavily revolves around food. Whether it’s helping my good friends Clarrissa and Stu at Essen, or enjoying our Saturday morning breakfasts in town. With some down time you really can’t beat getting down to the Pyramid walk at Girraween. I must have completed the hike over 60 times (the first being carried up by mum when i have about a year old). There is something very special about the walk and it is always a very relaxing place to finish the weekend.
Orchard Experience – ‘Brunch in the Orchard’ and ‘Brunch in the Blossom’ with Farm Tours
Check them out on their Facebook for more information about Orchard Experience – www.facebook.com/orchardexperience