Juicing up farm profit when life hands you lemons

Annmarie Lawson has grown up on Ferntree Valley farm in Kulangoor and seen it change from a cane farm to a fresh juice producer.
Annmarie Lawson has grown up on Ferntree Valley farm in Kulangoor and seen it change from a cane farm to a fresh juice producer. john mccutcheon

WHEN life gave Kelvin Yarrow lemons he made lemon juice.

The 73-year-old has been a farmer for about 50 years and in that time has reinvented the Ferntree Valley Farm to keep up with the times.

Mr Yarrow's daughter AnnMarie Lawson also works on the farm, as does his 69-year-old wife.

"He moved here when he was a teenager to Nambour; he used to ride out to Woombye to check pineapples when he was a boy," Ms Lawson said.

"He originally rented one part of the farm and grew beans and that stuff and then started growing sugar cane and he eventually bought a couple of farms."

Ms Lawson said her dad grew sugar cane until the Moreton sugar mill closed in 2003.

Mr Yarrow started growing bananas and looked at subdividing the land, but being classed as Rural A, it could not be sold for sub-development.

"He dabbled in a few things and in 2006 planted his first crop of lemons and limes and lychees," Ms Lawson said.

"We still grow a few bananas but it's mainly lemons, limes, lychees."

While the fruit on the crops have been selling well at market, Ms Lawson said fruit that was not up to standard would be thrown away.

"We dumped tonnes of fruit which were perfectly good, but there might be a blemish on the skin," she said.

"Dad said there has to be a better way and he looked into putting a juicing machine in.

"It's now up and running and we're juicing lemons and limes."

Ms Lawson said the juice was pure and had no added sugar and was perfect for cooking.

It's available through their stall at the Yandina markets on Saturdays.

It can also be bought at Yandina butchery and direct from the farm shed.

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