The Fat Wren Family Story
We really hope you enjoy a little peek into our wonderfully crazy, busy and unconventional lives.
Thank you for your support xx
The Beginnings of the Fat Wren.
Fat Wren Farm started life as a bit of a mud pile.
In 2007, in torrential raining lashing winds, we quite literally bought the farm. A modest 10 acres of largely unimproved land in Port Stephens, roughly half an hour north of Newcastle, Australia. Consisting of a massive horse shed, some fledgling trees and around 4 million spiders, it was a fairly humble start.
However, the land had good bones. Loads of fresh water, flat and open. Mel (that's me) has been living on the farm for thirteen years, gradually making improvements, planting trees, raising children, collecting critters, and small scale gardening. When fate stepped in... I met Nick quite unexpectedly one night at the pub. We were both there for a friend's charity evening, I was attending and Nick was a sponsor of the event. Considering the horrific weather in the lead up to the evening and the fact that most of our friends had cancelled, it was really a miracle that we both went. As it turned out we had a mutual circle of friends, and had even worked at the same place but had never met before!
That night we really hit it off and 10 months later, we were married on the farm.
When Nick arrived things really got exciting! Tractors were bought, soil was improved, compost was created, big garden beds and orchards were being prepared, watering systems, you name it! We were on our way to sustainability.
What a whirlwind! Almost exactly one year later we welcomed baby Leo, making us a happily blended family of four kids, one rescue maremma dog Bentley and occasionally his best friend Po the border collie, two feisty cats, a multitude of chickens, ducks and turkeys, and then Brella the tasmanian smithfield. Not to mention the piggies and horses. Whew!!
The principles of our lifestyle and farm are simple really -
More taste, less waste.
In 2009 I decided it would be a great idea to do a "farm-made" Christmas hamper for all of the extended family using the excess farm grown produce. Recipes were researched, canning techniques studied, jars were bought and the shenanigans commenced!
That first hamper included a tomato relish, strawberry jam, farmhouse pickle and a vanilla syrup preserved jar of cherries. It was the beginning of a great love affair with preserving.
In 2011 under the name of Well Preserved, I decided to go to market! The Farmers Markets each Sunday. My first stall was TINY. Hand made signs, very basic labels, bunting and a small range of products.
It was a crash course in "market"-ing, and let me tell you it's not for the faint hearted. It involved many 3am starts in the freezing cold or afternoons sweltering in the heat but I found it was always worth it!
I really love these images of the first stall.
After a few weeks and a lot of repeat customers raving about my Jams! I began entering competitions and winning awards:
- Newcastle regional Show
- Gresford Show
- Sydney Fine Food awards
- Dalemain Marmalade awards (UK)
After a break in 2015, we had a full rebranding and proudly established the Fat Wren Farm name! Allowing us to combine our very own farm fresh, spray-free and chemical-free produce and unique amazing preserves under one name!
Fat Wren Farm Now.
Growing food, family and fun!
Between us we are an amazing team. Nick is fascinated by the science and economics of soil improvement, waste reduction, composting and growing- so much so he makes it his day job. He can usually be found cruising on his favourite tractor with our rescue dog Bentley hard on his heels. Mel is the chef, artist and jam engineer and can usually be found in the kitchen creating the "experiments", or working on another unique batch of delicious concoctions. Our recently released Prebiotic Tonics (TM) are a delicious boost to your gut and have gained a cult following.
Happy Eating & Happy Living x