ABOUT BANJO'S PADDOCK
Welcome to Banjo's Paddock!
Banjo's Paddock is owned and run by us, Byron and Ruth Sanders, with help from our fabulous team of workers and volunteers, as well as our kids Ellie and Luke.
The idea for Banjo’s Paddock stemmed from wanting fresh, delicious, healthy, chemical free, locally grown produce. We also wanted to contribute to taking care of the land and ensuring its sustainability for future generations. When we talked to other people about what we wanted to grow on our land and how we wanted to go about it, there was a lot of interest in buying our produce, and so Banjo’s Paddock was born!
We started on a small piece of land in Binalong in 2016 and have slowly grown ever since, despite setbacks such as being wiped out by not one but two floods in our first three months of production.
In late 2018, we were provided with an amazing opportunity to rent an existing certified organic farm, Gleann Na Meala in Wallaroo, just outside of Canberra. Gleann Na Meala, which means valley of honey, has been a certified organic farm since 2011 and was previously owned by Dave and Hideko Pentony, who also originally started the EPIC farmers markets and Choki Bai Jo. They have very kindly agreed to mentor us in our first year on a certified organic farm (we did not use chemicals on our farm in Binalong but were not formally certified organic).
We've been producing our certified organic vegetables and fruit at Glean Na Meala since early 2019 and are continuing to build the range of produce on offer.
We are slowly building an amazing team around us who are just as passionate about healthy organic produce and caring for the earth as we are.
Byron does most of the actual farm work, and his chef background drives his passion for selecting tasty produce to grow for our customers (with a particular interest in heirloom products). Byron also understand the importance of nutritious food as a cornerstone of health and fitness, through his experience as a Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ) brown belt and instructor, competitor in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and previous role in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Commandos.
Ruth works in the public service and does most of the behind the scenes paperwork, as well as helping out on the farm and with market stalls. Ruth is the driving force behind some of the projects and collaborations Banjo's Paddock undertakes, such as working with local Indigenous Wiradjuri man Adam Ship of Yurbay to introduce native edibles to our line of produce.
WHAT METHODS DOES BANJO'S PADDOCK USE?
As a certified organic farm, we don't use chemicals, but instead use organic principles such as crop rotation, green manure, encouraging beneficial insects and earth friendly products to keep the bugs at bay (such as garlic and chilli oil spray). We are also keen to improve the land as we settle in to the new farm, such as through plans to plant a native vegetation trail and to bring some chickens in for weed and pest management.
WHAT DOES BANJO'S PADDOCK PROVIDE AND HOW CAN I GET MY HANDS ON THEIR GREAT PRODUCE?
We provide fresh, organic seasonal produce to the Canberra region through:
Southside Farmers Markets and occasional other markets
Southern Harvest to use in their weekly fruit and vegetable box subscription scheme
A BIG THANKS GOES TO...
Our extended family, and friends and customers are also central to the success of Banjo's Paddock. Their encouragement and enthusiasm for what we are doing spurs us on, and we love catching up with them at markets. When we have gone through tough times, (such as when we flooded in 2016 and again in early 2019 during the heat wave), our supporters have encouraged us to keep going and have been patient with our steep learning curve. Our gratitude and thanks goes to all of you (you know who you are) - we couldn’t do it without you!