Love it or hate it, garlic has become an integral part of mainstream Australian cooking since post-war Italian immigrants popularised the ancient, pungent plant. Cootharaba farmers, Peter Doff and Wendy Robertson, are garlic enthusiasts. Peter and Wendy have become familiar faces at the Noosa Farmers Market where they sell their Giant Russian garlic, grown on their A.C.O.-certified organic 4ha farm at Cootharaba in Noosa’s hinterland. They also grow asparagus, dwarf Cavendish bananas, red papaya, a selection of citrus trees, along with herbs and seasonal vegetables.
When available, they sell these on their stall along with their bush honey, harvested from hives on their farm under the Super Natural Organics label. They love the community aspect of the Noosa Farmers Market and enjoy meeting the consumers of their produce. “We constantly hear people say they are relieved to have finally found garlic that grows in Australia, still fresh and full of the health giving benefits that come with eating clean, healthy foods,” said Peter.
“The garlic we have become accustomed to buying from supermarkets is imported from China and is bleached, allegedly irradiated and grown using Third World farming practices. The irradiation process dramatically increases the amount of free radicals in the product, unlike our organically grown garlic, which still retains all its medicinal qualities,” he said.
Peter said last months Market was the last opportunity to buy the giant garlic until the next harvest and aims to supply the local market for six months from December this year. Peter has been growing the Giant-Russian variety for many years. He first started growing it on a small farm he had at North Arm in 1987 and has now brought his expertise to Noosa. Peter and Wendy have long had a passion for natural organic food.
They are firm believers that fresh, organically grown food is far more beneficial to human health than produce purchased from more traditional outlets. Peter’s commitment to the environment and to organic farming in particular was officially recognised in 1996 when he was presented with an agriculture award from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.
Wendy’s passion for clean food started at an early age. She grew up on her grand parents’ sheep farm in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand. Although her father used conventional farming methods, she believed there was a better, more environmentally responsible way to use the land’s resources. These views were forged further when she moved to Australia to work and study in the alternative health industry.
This awakened her interest in the medicinal benefits of eating “clean” food. She now has a farm of her own and says she sometimes feels her late father looking down on her and nodding approvingly at the success they have achieved with their organic farm.