The Farm, "Warren Grange", is owned and operated by Rick and Barbara. It was named by the previous owners due to its position on the Warren River. "Grange" is from Middle English, meaning "outlying farm ".
We specialise in producing heirloom vegetables, otherwise known as "heritage", or just "...the older varieties that haven't been modified for modern mass production", because the old varieties offer so much variety of amazing flavour and beautiful presentation opportunities for the creative food artists to work with.
We produce mainly summer/autumn crops, including heirloom tomatoes, capsicums, peppers, eggplants and chillies, and also heirloom pumpkins and squashes, as well as a few "oddballs" like tomatillos, and whatever else customers ask us to try from time to time.
We normally produce 30 to 40 varieties of pumpkins and squashes each year, up to about 40 varieties of tomatoes, 15 varieties of eggplant, and 7 to 10 varieties of capsicum, pepper and chilli. Our main winter crop is garlic, with production currently sitting at about 5 tonnes, with increases planned for the coming years; we also produce slowly increasing amounts of Jerusalem artichokes.
We believe so much in all of our produce because, apart from having very different appearances in colours, sizes and shapes, all have their own unique taste that is missing in modern varieties. This is also likely to offer significant dietary benefits through the vast variety of vegetables, all fully ripened on the plant, which maximises flavours in the vegetables and, therefore, probably also the nutrients such as the important vitamins, minerals and others that we need on a daily basis.
We cater for a broad section of the community, all of whom share the passion for beautiful flavours that differ markedly or the more recently developed varieties. Our customers include restaurants from Bunbury to Perth, specialty retailers, secondary wholesalers with their own customer networks, and "home foodies" who come to the Manning Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings in Perth to purchase our fam-fresh produce.
Before choosing a life on the land, Rick was a marine biologist who worked variously as a research scientist, project manager, and environmental consultant. In 2013, he decided that it was time to leave most of that behind, including Perth, and become a farmer. It has been a steep, slippery learning curve, with lots of opportunities and reasons to give up, but the stubborn (or stupid) gene has proved to dominate over the one for good sense.
Barbara is a registered nurse who has also worked in many different areas and industries. Her real calling is education, so she now combines her passion for nursing with that for teaching, and lectures in nursing sciences at Murdoch University in Perth. So we have a drive-in drive-out marriage, but somehow it works, despite the odd speed hump.