Kasey McClay, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper
Last year it was difficult to deal with the bombardment of bad news that came from COVID-19. So, hearing about the great year that the McNaul family’s paddock-to-plate agribusiness, ‘Outback Harvest’, has had was a refreshing change.
Fraser McNaul, who manages the branded side of the business, said “It’s just a fact that Australian products are a premium price compared to imported goods. So, it’s definitely been good for us having the borders closed and making it difficult for imported products to come in and compete with our Australian goods.”
Outback Harvest is a family affair with Fraser’s younger sister, Paige, working full time with administration and marketing for the online store, Lyn, Fraser’s mother, packing and sending out the online orders, and Shane, Fraser’s father, running the farming side of things. Fraser said, “It’s still a small business, but it keeps me, my sister and my mum quite busy, and keeps Dad on his toes, growing a few different crops for us.”
The McNaul family grows winter cereals, corn, rice as well as teff on its farm out at Wakool; the latter being the sole focus of Outback Harvest. Teff is an ancient grain of Ethiopia – which offers a gluten-free, healthy alternative to the plain flours currently out there. Fraser said, “I think it’s important to note that our teff is kept completely separate to the rest of the farming. We’ve got dedicated gluten-free silos and augers to make sure there’s no cross contamination.” Fraser also mentioned, “In the gluten-free market, people are really vigilant about what they put in their mouths and are already quite conscious of where they are buying their products from.”
Last year, everyone saw how outbreaks disrupt supply chains and way of life. So, hopefully as imports ramp back up in the future Outback Harvest, and other Australian farmers, will continue to have their goods represented more fairly in the market.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 18 February 2021.