The Life-Changing Decision

avocado farmers walking

Hi everyone!

My name is Katrina Myers and I am the co-owner of Barham Avocados. This is my very first blog post; I’m so looking forward to sharing the history of my family’s farm and our ongoing adventures. I’ll also be posting some great ‘how to’ blogs on topics like choosing a ripe avocado and making the best Barham Avo guacamole! If there is anything you’d love to learn more about or if you have any feedback or questions please do get in touch at anytime.

I was born and raised at Horseshoe Bend, the farm that is home to Barham Avocados which is located just north of the small town of Barham, on the Murray River in southern NSW.  Like so many other country kids, after I finished school I left to study at university and travel the world.

After I married Tim (who was also raised on a farm) the decision to return home and become farmers was a big one – we thought about it for a long time and, to be honest, many people advised us against doing it.

A number of questions initially crossed our minds:

“Why give up a perfectly good vet career and become a farmer?”

“You don’t make any money from farming”

“Why would we want to be farmers?”

But we had lived and travelled the world, worked in different places and we eventually  realised that, at this point in our lives, being farmers was what we really wanted.

A brief history of us…

Tim and I met in Barham in 2002. Tim had come to work here as the local vet, causing quite a stir with the young women of the town with his good looks and charming nature (he’s going to be horrified that I wrote that). After 6 months together in Barham we decided to move to the UK and we spent two years there working and travelling. Tim worked as a locum vet and I did all sorts of jobs from working in a garden centre to a horse-training stable to restaurants and pubs.

We returned home to Barham in 2004, but not to the farm. Tim went back to the local vet practice and I worked as an agronomist and in natural resource management while completing my Masters in Environmental Management.

In 2008, we were married in Barham in a gorgeous outdoor ceremony on the farm. Still yearning for different life experiences, we found a job for Tim with The World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) and moved to Bangkok after our wedding so he could take up that post. I taught English and volunteered with World Vision while Tim worked in Disaster Response Management with WSPA.

View of our wedding on lawn

Our wedding at the farm

After falling pregnant a few years later, we decided to move back to Australia in mid-2009. Tim joined a vet practice in Young in central NSW and I set about being a mother! We really did love it in Young and as far as vet practices go Tim couldn’t have asked for a better place to work. But we realised that we really wanted to be on a farm and Tim realised that he really wanted to be a farmer.

As Tim and I both grew up on farms we were very fortunate in that we really had two great farming options to pursue as our careers. Tim grew up on a wheat and sheep farm at West Wyalong in the middle of NSW. We would have loved to continue on the family farming tradition at West Wyalong as well, but when we looked at it we felt that a wheat and sheep farm would not offer us the opportunity to diversify and value-add where the avocado farm would. So, after convincing my Mum that we really did want to become farmers she agreed to let us move back to Barham at the end of 2010 and take over the running of Horseshoe Bend.

For us, the decision to farm has been the best decision of our lives. We absolutely love it. Tim loves the farming life and he loves being able to be his own boss and manage his own time. Most of all, he loves producing something, something that is so good for people. I love the business side – the marketing, the PR, the branding and telling the world about our beautiful avocados and you’ll hear all about that throughout this blog…

Welcome to the farm.

I feel like I have really found a working life that makes me happy and that I really enjoy. We love that we are able to be so involved in the community and that we have such a great network of producers in our area. Every day we think about how lucky we are that we made the decision to move back to Barham and grow avocados.

I guess the key thing I have learnt from this decision is that you should do what you love. If you don’t love your job then change it. If you have dreamed of starting your own business then do it. Take the plunge, take the risk and just do it. If you do something you love, you will do it well and you will be fullfilled.

Until next month,
Katrina

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