Carnarvon on WA’s mid-north coastline, midway between Perth and Port Hedland, is a unique location that makes for a truly memorable work or holiday experience. It’s the ideal mid-point for restocking supplies, fishing, exploring outlying areas, or, of course, sampling locally grown produce. Produce of which there is an abundance.
Think of any staple fruit or vegetable and it can grow in this region. Bananas, mangoes, melons, citrus, grapes, as well as your everyday vegetables such as corn, salads, cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, and chillies to name but a few.
In this edition of Trail Mix we’d like to introduce you to the Chinnery family. Owned by Tam and Jeremy, Chinnery Farm grow mostly to demand allowing them to manage their production capacity based on inclination, time of year, and in some cases, labour availability.
Having bought the farm in 2006, teachers Tam and Jeremy leased it out for around ten years but as soon as semi-retirement beckoned, Jeremy found himself taking over the running of the farm with Tam being on hand to support both in the paddocks as well as behind the scenes. “It’s a home to us as much as it is a business”, says Tam.
They’ve been ably supported by backpackers since 2010 with peak requirements for their orange harvest in April each year. Once they’ve picked and packed up to 100 tonnes of oranges by the end of May, they turn to pruning, and then on to planting, seeding, and harvesting an array of other fruit and vegetables – chillies and wintermelons are a hot favourite, but beans, cucumbers, turmeric, coriander and paprika all feature.
Work is varied and physical but is also ongoing for keen, reliable, and hardworking individuals until at least October. To balance the lifestyle offerings of Carnarvon that Tam and Jeremy like to enjoy themselves, the farm is mainly operational from 6.30am until early afternoon, allowing the whole team to explore the region, the beaches, and the surf before the cycle starts again the next morning.
“We’ve had lots of backpackers over the years and what can sometimes differentiate us is our farm isn’t a production line … it’s a pitch-in together and get it done type farm”, Tam reflects.
Tam and Jeremy are typical of many small businesses in rural Australia – caring, hard-working, and supportive of their team of workers. Acknowledging the challenge of attracting workers from across Australia to their little community, they rely on word of mouth and the Harvest Trail Information Service to help them source and secure reliable workers.
If you’re looking to work in a region like Carnarvon, or with a small family-operated business like the Chinnery’s, then contact the Harvest Trail Information Service on 1800 062 332 or visit the Harvest Trail website.