The seventh Willunga Farmers Market Farmers Scholarship has been awarded to an innovative young farming family with a focus on game birds.
Winners Marni and Dirk Pritchard have a 180 acre property, ‘Braeburn Farm’ near Willunga on the Fleurieu Peninsula, producing guinea fowl, quail and ducks, as well as honey and wildflowers.
“We were super excited to hear we’d won, and we plan to use the prize to take our business to a grander scale,” said Ms Pritchard.
Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board Chair David Greenhough with the Pritchard family and Environment Minister David Speirs
The Willunga Farmers Market Scholarship aims to support the future of farming on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Developed in 2014 in response to the declining number of farmers in the industry nationwide, the $15,000 scholarship receives partnership support from the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board. It is awarded each year to an emerging business to encourage farming on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
“Our vision for Braeburn Farm is to become as self-sufficient as possible by making the most of the farm’s assets to provide a long term income and provide authentic and unmodified products to local customers,” Ms Prichard said.
At the Willunga Farmers Markets later this year, Braeburn Farm will begin selling guinea fowl, a product not currently offered at the markets.
“Guinea fowl is unique, it’s something special. We are also picking up on the fact that we live close to McLaren Vale which is renowned for unique flavours and seasonal produce,” she said.
The farm also produces scrub honey, which has a unique taste and is sold raw, and wildflowers to be offered for sale in bunches.
The family has an integrative approach to production - the guinea fowl are housed in portable enclosures so they can be moved about the paddock to turn over the soil before it is planted with wildflowers. The flowers in turn provide nectar to feed the bees which produce the farm’s unusual creamed honey.
Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board chair David Greenhough congratulated the Pritchards for their outstanding work in building a sustainable and successful local business based on primary produce.
“The Willunga Farmers Market scholarship opens up farming to anyone with a great idea and the energy to make it happen, which Marni and Dirk have shown through their application and determination to create this new venture,” Mr Greenhough said.
Braeburn Farm plans to open its first stall at the Willunga Farmers Market in November this year.
The Willunga Farmers Market Farmers Scholarship will open again later this year for applications for 2022.