Farmers Tell Their Resilience, Heartbreak, and Passion for Real Food.
After the enduring heartbreak of the worst drought in Australian history, relief was on its way in the form of rain, but the storm turned to hail destroying 4 million avocados along with hopes and dreams. When things seemed that they could not get any worse, bushfires struck and the real fight to save their farm began.
Julia Foyster grew up in Germany. Twelve years ago she decided to backpack through Australia with a friend. She joined ‘Willing Workers on Organic Farms’ and worked and lived with farming families in exchange for board and accommodation.
She harvested coffee beans, picked, packed and sliced mangoes, worked on a horse riding farm, and eventually ended up on her now husband’s farm picking and packing avocados, mangoes and limes.
A decade later they are married with two kids. In the first few years, Julia drove tractors, helped run the packing facility, helped to establish new orchards and investigated new crops to grow.
Julia says: “It wasn’t until my first of many floods that I realised the severe emotional toll on my new family. Witnessing the destruction of our watermelon crop revealed what it truly meant to be married to an Australian farmer. No one really talked about the financial loss or the emotional strain. Everyone just threw themselves into working even harder to make up for the loss. We replaced our watermelon crop hoping that we would still be able to grow another but just before we could harvest, another flood hit.I realised it wasn’t enough for me to stand by and watch things unfold. I had to do my part to help my family financially and the idea for Tweed Real Food was born.”
Julia started Tweed Real Food, taking her connection between the land, who we are and what we eat into her passion for real food and created all natural flavours for Australians.
“My vision was to contribute to the joy families experience when sharing healthy, home-cooked meals around their dinner table. While creating an additional income stream to subsidise the ongoing losses.”
Julia experimented with flavours for seasonings and balsamic vinegars, inspired by the fresh produce the family grows on their farm.
Throughout the first year of Tweed Real Food being in business, the farms suffered their biggest disasters yet, well into the drought a severe hailstorm struck, followed by devastating bushfires.
Julia concludes: “For two months we lived in a constant state of fear. Fire changed direction away from one farm only to move towards another. When the fires reached the farm, the bushfire app suddenly updated, showing the fires had ripped not only through our orchard but the entire area. I was sure at the time that my family hadn't survived.”
Tweed Real Food has received over 3000 5 star reviews from a very loyal customer base. The recipe book ‘There is a story behind every meal’ featuring 65 delicious recipes, intertwined with untold farm stories and beautiful imagery, encapsulates the journey of overcoming hardship, providing heart-wrenching insight to the reality of farming in Australia.