First generation farmers, Edward Charles and Ellen Fahey came to Darkes Forest in 1939. They grew chickens, potatoes, a few backyard fruit trees and cut firewood for sale. They made clothes line props from bush trees, known as ‘forkies’, which was a common way to build a clothes line in Australia prior to the invention of the rotary clothes hoist.
Darkes Forest was a tough place to live in those days and hard work was both expected and necessary.
Their son, Edward Martin (Ted), worked to help his dad from an early age in every aspect of the wood business, growing the farm and in selling of produce. Their daughter, Jocelyn, helped with everything from the vegie patch and chooks to the dairy cow and the family horse. Like her brother, she became a genius at growing things. These skills continue to be passed down the generations today.
Ted and Jocelyn grew up with their parents and grandmother, Maude Kate Martin, all living in the old cottage on the farm. They went through some pretty tough times, eeking out a living from the land but the family and being together was always most important. The cottage is pictured here, with what eventually became an enormous wisteria covering the entire building.
In his late teens, early 20’s, Ted set out to build a new house on the farm for his mum, working by candlelight at night to complete it. It took him 2 years to build as he could only work at night after his daily work activities.
Ted spent a lot of his time tending to the chickens and had to do many hours of dressing the birds for sale as meat. Ted did not enjoy that part of the job and to this day refuses to eat chicken.
The family encouraged the neighbours to farm potatoes and cooperatively sell them. This was a very hard pursuit and began to take a toll on young Ted’s back. He convinced his parents that they should plant more fruit trees and focus on that as he felt the area suited this. He went on to marry Ruth and she joined him in development of the business and brought the financial savvy that was needed to help grow the enterprise.
Ted and Ruth have three sons who have all worked on the orchard. It is their eldest son, Glenn, who has taken the farm into its next phase of development, assisted by his wife Jo-Anne. They have two children who as 4th generation, will lead the events and product development of the future on the farm.
Ted, now well into his 80’s has set the tone for the hard working ethic we all have here. We aspire to continue to ‘grow something from nothing’. We love to take natural inputs and with care and skill nurture growth and produce food that tastes amazing. We love to educate and share what we know and what we do. We are proud of what we have achieved from several lifetimes and from each season. We get excited by seasonal differences in batches of fruit, cider and honey.