Meet The Growers: In this edition, we meet Katrina & Tim Myers from Barham Avocados - longtime avocado farmers and the founders of The Avo Club!
The team at Barham Avocados grow delicious avocados from their farm Horseshoe Bend on the banks of the Murray River, in Southern NSW. They grow four main types of avocados, the Bacon, the Fuerte, the Hass and their specialty avocado, the Reed.
There are only about 50 Bacon and Fuerte trees, which are picked in late July. The Hass is the major crop and the picking season runs from late August until mid-October. They finish the year off with the Reeds which are picked through December and Jan.
Below we interviewed Katrina about all things avo-related.
Q. First things first, Favourite avo and why? Go!
A. Reed, of course! They are our all time favourite. They are big and round and creamy and delicious!
Q. Can you give us a little of a backstory about the Farm ‘Horseshoe Bend’ and how you and Tim came to be here?
A. Yes, it’s my family farm and she grew up here. When I was young, it was a mixed enterprise irrigation farm with Lucerne and cattle. The first avocado trees were given to my Mum and Dad as a gift from my Mum’s Mum, Gwen Heinz. She gave them the money to buy 100 trees as a bit of fun because she thought they were a lovey fruit and would be fun to grow. She was certainly on to something!
Q. When and why did you start selling your avos online?
A. In 2011 when we moved back to take over the farm business from Katrina’s Mum, we were looking into all different ways to sell the fruit more directly. Online shopping was just starting for clothing but not really food back then but I looked at what they were doing in America and they were already selling avocados online over there so she thought why not give it a go! Because Avocados don’t ripen until you pick them, you have a window of about 5 days to get the fruit to people in the mail before it ripens, so it’s well suited to online delivery unlike lots of other fresh produce.
Q. Can you tell us what a typical day on the farm looks like?
A. Well there’s not really a typical day as such as every day on a farm is different. Avocado trees are a bit precious, so they require A LOT of attention! Especially as they are a tropical fruit and we live in a not so tropical area!
Q. Hass season is well underway. How can you tell if/when the avos are ready to be picked?
A. Well, we laugh because our beautiful Labrador Moet is really our chief tester. As soon as she starts eating them, we know they’re ready! No, but in all seriousness, we know roughly what time of the year the avocado mature on the tree and then we just start doing dry matter tests to see if the oil content is high enough to pick them.
Q. What is the most rewarding thing and what is the most challenging thing about growing avocados at Barham/Farming in general?
A. The most rewarding thing is definitely the lifestyle, owning your business, the wide-open space and bringing kids up on a farm is awesome. There are definitely lots of challenges that are out of our control, but that’s true of life in general and you just have to mentally cope with the highs and lows. It comes down to having a good mindset and good wellbeing at the end of the day.
Growing avocados in this area is quite challenging because of the extreme weather conditions. But we can mitigate the challenges for the most part. I must admit that it gets pretty stressful on the -4 and the +45 degree days though!
Q. How come the avos from Barham are sooooo good?
A. We have a long growing season which means the flavours of the fruit really develop and we don’t have any pests or diseases because of where we are located.
Q. What is your top avo tip?
A. Oh, we love to tell people that if they have half an avocado they want to put in the fridge because they can’t finish it, just run it under some cold water, shake off the excess and put it in the fridge. That will stop it from going brown overnight. That’s all you need to do. No glad wrap required!
Q. Favorite avo recipe?
Q. Tell us a little about Barham? We hear it is a bit of a food bowl?
A. Yeah, it sure is. Just out on the road that we live on in a 20km stretch, you’ll find citrus, avocados, beef cattle, dairy cattle, broadacre cropping, rice, veggies, sheep! It's amazing and all because we are fortunate enough to have irrigation water to grow such beautiful produce with.
To learn more about Barham Avocados, visit their website: barhamavocados.com.au