Small scale - nurtured by hand from seed to harvest
Since 2017, Heirloom Naturally has specialised in growing old fashioned, nutrient dense vegetables and microgreens that not only taste incredible, they are visually stunning too. Nurtured from our own heirloom seed where possible, grown utilising regenerative farming practises and hand harvested to order; this is how fresh, chemical free, local produce really tastes.
Frustrated at buying "boring" vegetables that within a day or two looked tired and wilted, Simone Boyd began growing vegetables for her own kitchen. Loured by the colour, flavour and nostalgia of heirloom vegetables (Sim is a self confessed "Nanna" at heart), she began growing only old fashioned varieties, and loved the anticipation of deciding "what's for dinner?" based on the seasonal produce available in the garden.
Having worked as a loss and grief counsellor for many years, Sim found plunging her hands into crumbly soil was incredibly good for her own well-being, and she found herself being drawn to the garden at every spare moment. Growing her own nutrient dense food proved not only to be good for the body, but great for the mind and soul.
Wanting to share the delight of juicy white watermelon, vibrant red spinach, crunchy purple carrots and earthy sunflower shoots, Sim decided to develop a small scale market garden on a recently purchased plot of farmland in Mansfield (Victoria, Australia).
Recognising the key to growing great vegetables lies in the quality of the soil, Sim and her husband Cam began the long term process of building living soil on their Mansfield property in February 2017, on what was previously an overgrazed plot of land with almost non existent top soil.
Heritage Berkshire pigs cleared weeds and fertilised the growing area, prior to truck loads of organic compost being added to form permanent beds. Now, after each crop is harvested, beds are broad forked and an additional layer of compost is added on top, allowing the soil microbiology to do the 'hard' work of pulling the organic matter down for the plant roots to access. Crops are then either seeded or transplanted by hand and nurtured through until harvest.
"Our ongoing commitment to no tillage, no tractor and no synthetic inputs ensures we are building a living, vibrant soil structure, which in turn produces top quality, real, nutritious and unique vegetables. This method is not only good for our vegetables and your health, it is also great for the environment as it keeps carbon within the soil, reduces water requirements and ultimately, regenerates the land."
This is small scale market gardening at its best!
**In 2020, we decided to expand into offering a select range of our heirloom seed. Following a shortage of bulk heirloom seed due to the COVID pandemic, Sim began saving more seed from her most prized varieties. We are now delighted to be able to offer our beautiful seed varieties to allow the home grower to enjoy the vibrancy and 'deliciousness' of heirloom vegetables .
Our ancestors grew vegetables mostly out of necessity. When they came across a vegetable that thrived within their local environment and also tasted great, they saved the seed to allow it to be grown again year after year. Seeds in those days were "open pollinated" and not "owned" by a big corporation, so could be grown freely and true to form each year.
These seeds then became an heirloom (pronounced "air-loom"). Much like precious pieces of jewellery or furniture might be passed down from generation to generation, these seeds were saved year after year and given to others to grow their own piece of history. Many heirloom seed varieties are thousands of years old, each with its own unique story and heritage.
Heirloom vegetables are all about taste, with the added bonus of vibrant colour, unique shapes and sizes that are rarely found in supermarkets or green grocers. No boring vegetables to be found here!
You will be amazed at the number and variety of vegetables that actually exist.