By Angela Norval
For Greg Sobczak and his family, the opportunity to not only develop something new as a family, but take a different career path saw them purchase a 21-acre lime farm which had been developed from scratch by the previous owners some eight years prior.
From there, with support of his wife Vanessa, daughter and son-in-law Kiandra and Nick Glass, Evergreen Limes Pty Ltd was born in April 2021.
Since then, Greg hasn’t wasted a moment, enjoying developing a farm around a fruit that he feels represent a reasonably hardy crop with a reliable year-round production.
Greg said they had often admired the farm when visiting the area and actually loved using limes themselves, so it was the perfect opportunity to purchase the property.
“Limes can be used in so many ways; being a great accompaniment to seafood, Thai, Asian and Mexican cuisines, as well as in desserts, cocktails or just simply a slice or two in a glass of water,” he said.
“The rind of the lime is very flavoursome and the fruit can be thinly sliced and dried to use decoratively for cakes and drinks, as well as ground with sea salt, pepper and other spices and herbs and chillies for rubs for barbecued meats.
“Other than that, they can also be juiced and frozen for later use.
“The farm is located at Welcome Creek, an area well known for a variety of crops.
“The soil condition is an extremely vital part of the success of the farm, so we pay particular attention to soil health as limes are avid feeders.
“The temperature of our region is a major benefit though for year-round production of quality fruit.”
Although having only been on the farm for 12 months, Greg and his team has continued to make improvements to the farm, as well as purchasing equipment to assist in easier methods of fertilising, picking, sorting and packing.
“Farming is actually a foreign and new venture for us and we have been absolutely loving the challenge.
“We are always looking to improve our practices and achieve the best from the farm.
“We have access to a specialist citrus agronomist to ensure we stay on track with our goals.
“We are also keen to learn new things and being outside seeing the benefits of your labours is extremely rewarding.
“We have loved the environment and the peace working on the farm brings.”
Evergreen Limes Pty Ltd have key local customers, but aim to continue to grow their supply directly to local wholesalers as well as larger city centres.
“We continue to grow our network and are looking at interstate supply however this is a work in progress, but with the lifting of most restrictions on covid, we are finding that we are comfortable with our level of supply and production at this time.
“We are also looking at other avenues for the property, but it is early days, so nothing is set in stone at this point.
“We are pretty content with our current market and work load, as we would be looking to employ workers should we expand the farm with more plantings.”
While their son in law Nick has been pretty busy with his own cane farm, their daughter Kiandra also became a new mum to Haylie two weeks after Greg and Vanessa took over the farm, meaning both Nick and Kiandra had to adjust to new baby, new home and new environment.
Greg and Vanessa are now pleased to have Kiandra back in her administration role on the farm handling all the paperwork and books and of course plenty of visits with Haylie.
“Ultimately our family continues to love that Bundaberg is a very diverse location, with an enviable location close to Brisbane, the Sunshine and Gold Coasts as well as being an acceptable distance to our northern regions like Yeppoon, Rockhampton and the islands. “Bundaberg has a strong economic base for many industries and a very well serviced regional town and let’s not forget about an awesome climate.
“We are proud of what we are achieving through Evergreen Limes Pty Ltd and are part of the ever-growing positive reputation the region is developing as a developing fresh fruit and vegetable hub.”