These heirloom pumpkins have taken 16 - 20 weeks of care and attention to reach harvest, and Ewan Eatts of Morning Glory Farms says they are well worth it.
Since returning to the farm after studying at Harvey Agricultural College, Ewan has brought a new perspective to the farm and is implementing some of his grand plans. One of those being to steer the farm down the regenerative agriculture path.
As a fourth-generation farmer Ewan joins his father Bevan on their mixed enterprise farm where they are trialling Japanese melons and heirloom pumpkins alongside the beef, lamb, vegetables, and dried fruit processing already undertaken on the farm.
Typical of farms in the area, Morning Glory Farms is highly productive with 800 head of livestock and 60,000 cauliflowers produced over the year in addition to smaller quantities of heirloom pumpkins, spaghetti squash, beetroot, brassicas, and corn.
The Eatts family pride themselves on growing good, quality produce, by using the right fertilisers and nutrition to get the best yields and return on investment.
When asked what their favourite produce line to grow is, Bevan said hands down Sweet Corn. You can eat it raw straight out of the paddock. We also wouldn’t call him a lazy farmer, far from it, but one of the key points about growing corn is that you don’t have to bend over to pick it! If anyone has ever spent time harvesting brassicas, you’ll know how back breaking the first week of work can be… We’re with you on that one Bevan!
The family have come full circle in terms of what they produce on the farm. When Bevan’s grandfather started the farm in 1947, they started out with a few dairy cows and sheep, which evolved to vegetables as their main crop. In the late 1990’s they diversified into stone fruit and now due to the pressures of pricing and labour shortages, they have moved away from orcharding and back to extensive range of vegetables.
This is a common narrative in the Southern Forests. Produce lines go through their ups and downs and growers are constantly diversifying their offerings and changing with the times. It’s what makes this region so dynamic. You can grow just about anything here.
Bevan and Vicki’s daughter Bronwyn recently joined brother Ewan on the farm for her school gap year. Something many farm kids in the Southern Forests get to experience. Bronwyn is fortunate (or unfortunate depending how you look at it) to have several of the heirloom pumpkin varieties named after her. It all kicked off with White Bron. How? Well, Bevan tells us, it’s because her daughter spends too much time inside and has very pale skin. From this Orange Bron and Night Bron were also named. We can see the funny side.
Along with their farming endeavours, the Eatts family developed a product line of dried fruit products under the Southern Forest Flavours label. During apple season, Bevan and Ewan source and process apples grown in the Southern Forests into dried fruit bars and dried fruit slices. Lately, due to time and labour constraints they have focused solely on the production of their dried Bravo slices, which allow consumers to enjoy the sweet flavour of Bravo apples all year round. Keep an eye on this brand as they hope to develop it further in the future.
Bevan is an avid supporter of the Southern Forests Food Council and Genuinely Southern Forests regional brand, having been the chair of the Committee of Management for 6 years in the past.
Bevan Eatts encourages consumers to buy local to WA whenever possible. “Food produced in WA is some of the cleanest and safest in the world, and we are privileged at any opportunity to form a connection with the people who enjoy what we grow here in the Southern Forests,” Bevan said.
Living and working in the Southern Forests means everything to him. From the community and people he works alongside to the diversity of the region, it’s pristine climate, soil and availability networks and groups. He’s proud to take part in a collective branding of the region that aids in getting produce into niche markets that may have been harder to break into.
Look for the Morning Glory Farms, and Genuinely Southern Forests logos on produce grown by Bevan and Ewan in IGA and independent supermarkets. Southern Forest Flavours products can be found at one of their many stockists.
Photography by Craig Kinder Photography for Genuinely Southern Forests.