Having studied agricultural science at UQ in Gatton and worked as a vegetable agronomist, Elle moved to Rous in the Northern Rivers of NSW two years ago with her family. She finds it really exciting to farm with them – especially in a place that gets more rain! The orchard, located at Rous in the Northern Rivers, is 30ha and has about 10,000 trees of a wide range of varieties and ages – some trees are over 30 years old.
Elle loves the hands-on work of managing the farm. “I have always loved being outside and getting my hands dirty. I’m also interested in science and sustainability, so I find working on the farm combines all my interests and challenges me to learn more. Every day on the farm is different. There’s so much to it. I have had to learn to be a mechanic and a bookkeeper and much more as well. There are so many challenges to keep me guessing!”
Elle says she never feels like she is on her own though. She finds the macadamia industry so welcoming and loves how willing everyone is to share their knowledge and expertise.
“I have met many other women in the industry through the AMS as well as at industry field days and functions. They are all very inspiring. I feel it’s an equal industry in that regard as many women are trialing innovative ideas and new methods of growing macadamias.
My favourite part of being a macadamia farmer is the satisfaction I get from raising a seedling through our nursery, grafting it, planting it in the field and then being able to harvest from that tree, knowing that it will be there for most of my lifetime. I also like being able to work with my family and our small team, and to have my dogs by my side all day! When I’m not on the farm I make the most of being so close to the ocean by surfing, and exploring all the beautiful places around here.”
Elle’s favourite way to eat macadamias is coated in chocolate or honey-roasted but she also enjoys just cracking them open straight from the ground and “before they are dried when they still taste coconutty.”