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Cheap Organic Fruits and Vegetables Grown in The City

Note:  ‘Are Freerange Organic Eggs Worth the Money?’ – This is a transcription of the video.

Bex:
Hello, we are here with Vince Polito in Cromer, Sydney in the middle of the suburbs right across the street from an elementary school and right next to another house and another house; a typical suburb. However, if you can see behind us, we have got a farm in the middle of a suburb. We are here with Vince today to talk about how we can get wonderful farm fresh vegetables from his family to ours.

Hi Vince! Can you tell us how much space you have here growing these beautiful organic vegetables and how long you have this farm going?

Vince:
It’s just a large block of land for the moment. We had a lot of land that we don’t have any more.

Bex:
How long you have been running this backyard farm?

Vince:
From 1968, we had the shop and farm. We grew spinach, all greens, tomatoes and we supported ourselves with a shop. There’s four in my family, 2 boys, me and the wife.

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Bex:
Wonderful, and how much space do we have here that you are growing all the crops?

Vince:
Roughly 200m2 (2150ft).

Bex:
About two house blocks?

Vince:
Yeah, roughly. One block I have to let it go now and I concentrate on the one as I’m getting old! I am 83.

Cheap Organic Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Your-city City

Vince’s backyard!

Bex:
He’s 83! How long have you been growing in your backyard farm?

Vince:
57 years. All veggies, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, beetroot and everything! When we had the shop.

Bex:
What do you have currently growing here?

Vince:
For the moment, we have corn and tomatoes.

Bex:
Corn and tomatoes. I see a very large tomato crop.

Vince:
Yes. 600 plants.

Bex:
600 tomato plants! How long have they been growing and when will they be finished?

Vince:
At the end of January, they should be finished. All depends on the weather. For a couple of months, we’ll pick them if the crop is doing well.

Bex:
You’ve said that you have a lot of corn right now?

Vince:
Yes, I have corn till May.

Bex:
So, you grow them seasonally?

Vince:
Yes, Yes.

Bex:
What else do you have growing in here at the moment?

Vince:
That’s all I have for the moment.

Bex:
For selling at the farmer’s market?

Vince:
Yes.

Bex:
What else do you have here that you grow for your family?

Vince:
I grow lettuce, little carrots, spinach and all that stuff.

Bex:
I noticed you have some chili peppers and some herbs – Basil, rosemary?

Vince:
Basil, oregano, mint. We had a lot of rhubarb but that’s finished now.

Bex:
Ok. I saw some bean plants?

Vince:
I plant beans for the family, 2 or 3 rows every year.

Bex:
Italians eat lots of Borlotti beans…

Vince:
One finish, one start…

Bex:
I saw some chickens in the back?

Vince:
I’ve got 11 chickens and 5 or 6 eggs every day.

Bex:
5 or 6 eggs every day?

Vince:
Yeah!

Bex:
Beautiful!

Vince:
I have 2 bee hives, about 100 kg (220 lb) of honey every year.

Bex:
Honey bees, how much per year?

Vince:
100kg. This is for the family and not for business.

Bex:
Around the perimeter of the house, I have seen lots of avocado trees.

Vince:
I’ve got a lot of avocados. About  a dozen plants. They are all full of fruit.

Bex:
Do you have a lot of fruit from them?

Vince:
Yes, I do. Every second year.  Not every year.

Bex:
Ah, I see.

Vince:
Every second year. They do one year and they have a spell for another year.

Bex:
There is a kiwi vine growing up on the side of the house?

Vince:
Just more for show and we get some fruits at the same time.

Bex:
Kiwi fruits, wonderful! In the past you used to grow different things here. What else have you grown here?

Vince:
Yes, everything, potatoes, everything before. All veggies.

Bex:
Cauliflower?

Vince:
Yes, cauliflower in the winter not in summer.

Bex:
Some cauliflower comes here in the winter.. and?

Vince:
Basil, all the herbs I can grow.

Bex:
So we found you, Vince, at the farmer’s market in Frenchs Forest here in Sydney and we buy a vast majority of our own vegetables from you.

Vince:
I’ve got a brother in law, we work all together with the same stuff.  We don’t use chemicals.

Bex:
Ok.

Vince:
He’s a little bit older than me and we share the stuff. Whatever he grows, he sends to me and I pay the market price whatever it is.

Bex:
Where is his farm?

Vince:
(The Farm) is up in Dural (West of Sydney, about 50 min)

Bex:
In Dural. So you put together what you’ve grown here and what he’s grown there to sell in the farmer’s market.

Vince:
At the elementary school here (across the road), most of the people know me. They take their kids to school, then they come up to the market.

Bex:
Wonderful!

Vince:
We had the shop for 17 years in Collaroy Plateau. I know a few people from there that still come and see me. I don’t know what I’ve got, but they are still coming!

Bex:
The benefits, obviously, from buying from a local farmer such as yourself is that you grow here, not certified (certified organic), but in an organic fashion.

Vince:
We don’t have an organic certificate because it’s too late for me to do one.  There’s a lot of money involved. They have to check the ground, too much to do. I can’t keep up with it.

I have found at the Bunnings (Sydney hardware and gardening chain store) a kind of spray. You put it in a bottle, place a couple of holes, the fruit flies go in and die in there. Caterpillars, I can’t do nothing with caterpillars.

Bex:
So instead of spraying anything on the plants, you just put it in the bottle and attract things (flies) in there.

Vince:
Yes, they are trapped in there and never come out to touch the fruit, plant or anything.

Bex:
Fantastic! What other methods do you use to nourish the soil and the plants? Growing in between? Or putting some fertilizer?

Note: He does hang fake snakes to scare away birds and pests too.

Cheap Organic Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Your-city City

Vince uses fake snakes to scare birds and other pests

Vince:
I put “Dynamic Lifter”. Organic stuff.  Special from the markets. It’s a special fertilizer for growth.

If you want you can check if any people suspect something.

…and I use lime. I leave it in the ground for 6 months sometimes with nothing growing in it. Then I change the piece of the land.

Bex:
Do you use any other organic fertilizer or you put something in between the crops?

Vince:
I put a lot of compost. Dead grass. Sometimes I’ll buy some compost, organic from the nursery, if I need it. They don’t suffer.

Cheap Organic Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Your City

Vince purposely plants other plants in between his crops to help nourish the soil

Bex:
You find that’ll keep your soil nourished enough to keep your crops growing.

Vince: (Vince agrees and nods.) Yes. Sometimes I get a tomato plant about 5 feet high.

Bex: Because of the volume, the amount of the crops you are growing in here, you think this is a sustainable way?

Vince:
I do lose some crops. I get enough benefit for what I save. I prefer to have a worm rather than a chemical.

Bex:
You prefer to have a worm rather than a chemical.

(Bex continues… now talking about the 12 avocados trees. Missed the first part)

They (avocado trees) are actually growing between his wall that’s around his house and the footpath, or sidewalk. So you can really grow food anywhere.

Would you say to our viewers that anybody with a little bit of backyard, a little bit of grass and a little bit of land on the side of their house can do a bit of what you do?

Vince:
If people like me want to grow stuff, they’ve got to prepare the ground with a bit of lime to cultivate, leave it to rest for a while,  and you can grow anything you want to grow.

Bex:
Vince, thank you so much for talking to us today and inspiring us. We want to let everyone know that if you are in the Sydney area, you can visit Vince at the farmers market. At Frenchs Forest Farmer’s Market, every Sunday morning from 8 am to 1 pm.

“Vince’s Veggies” is the name of his stall. You look for him and his grandson, Simon. You can also find him on Facebook, thanks to his grandson: www.facebook.com/Vincesveggies

‘From our familia to yours’

This is really the way we should be shopping, growing our food as a community. Thank you Vince, very much!

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