Entrepreneurial couple Ann and Andrew Leslie live and breathe macadamias. Ann is the founder of Avilla Farm Skincare, a macadamia oil skincare range. Her husband, Andrew, is a macadamia grower, running several macadamia orchards including their own 3,000 tree macadamia farm near Alstonville, Northern NSW.
The Leslie family moved to the New South Wales macadamia-growing region in 2008 after many years living and working in Brisbane. Ann, a former teacher and Andrew, a former accountant, bought a working macadamia farm. For Andrew this was a return to his roots as he grew up on his parents macadamia farm.
“Andrew’s parents farm was one of the early macadamia farms in the Alstonville area”, says Ann. “Andrew has memories of planting out and harvesting macadamias by hand with his siblings.”
After working in different industries, the pair were able to bring a new perspective and practices to the farm. In particular, Ann brought a passion for quality, beneficial skincare. She is evangelical about the benefits of macadamia oil in skin care. “People love it as a food. Not many people know it as skincare, but when they try it, they love it. It mimics the natural oils of the skin, is super nourishing and repairing and is suitable for most skin types.”
This passion has led Ann to craft a range of six face and body products, all containing premium quality Australian macadamia oil, as well as other proven beneficial ingredients like Kakadu Plum and Manuka Honey. In the food world, the term ‘Paddock to Plate’ is commonly used. Ann has coined the phrase ‘Farm to Face’ to communicate the idea that her products are produced using all-natural key ingredients from Australian farms.
Although Ann and Andrew’s four kids have almost all flown the coop, they retain their enthusiasm for macadamias and the macadamia industry. Several of them have floated plans to expand the Avilla Farm brand to help realise the potential of the nuts grown on the family farm.
It’s not just skin care recipes that Ann crafts. She also dreams up macadamia inspired meals in the kitchen. “Crumbed salmon with a macadamia sourdough crust is probably my favourite way to enjoy them. I sampled it at an Australian Macadamias event once and went home and got creative!”
And as for her favourite time of year, Ann loves Spring. “I actually love it when the macadamia trees are in flower – it’s quite stunning. And then of course when the trees are full of nuts. It’s always a good feeling to see the year’s crop there.”