Ian and Karolyn Mulligan have farmed macadamias for 40 years, first on their 500 acre farm at Rocky Creek where they had 50,000 trees under harvest and now at their beautiful property at Dorroughby.
They decided to downsize 20 years ago and now have a measly 100 acres with only 5,000 trees! Along with five acres of coffee bushes and “too bloody many” cattle, at least according to Ian, and you’ll see that this wasn’t such a step back from farming and production after all.
When you spend any amount of time with this delightful pair, you get a sense of their love for country life and their cheeky sense of humour!
Ian and Karolyn’s macadamia crop is harvested annually between March and September. They use the local facility, Macadamias Direct – one of few oil presses in the country – to process the yield before bringing the oil and nuts back to their farm for their range of products. You’ll find Ian at just a few markets in the region, ever ready with a joke, selling his food grade oils, pastes, butters, nuts and cosmetic oils. Even after all these years plying macadamias, he still loves a chat and can tell a myriad of stories about how the industry has changed and grown.
Like any farmer, the ups and downs of life on the land can be unpredictable. Feral dogs once killed the 48 sheep Ian had been carefully raising, and that was in just two nights. More recently, in one hit, Cyclone Debbie knocked out nearly a third of Ian’s macadamia trees, a freak occurrence from which the farm is still recovering.
But it is hard to imagine Ian and Karolyn doing anything else, and they wouldn’t have it any other way regardless!