For anyone who has ever had a conversation with Brian Camilleri about growing any type of produce, you will most likely agree that he is the holder of an incredible amount of knowledge about all things growing and horticulture. During the few conversations I have had with Brian, he has always been happy to share any bits and pieces of information that will help me to literally grow my knowledge about food!
I got a full access tour of Camilleri’s farm when I visited recently and was overwhelmed by just how much produce they are growing on their land at Sarina. For those of you who may not know much about Brian, he has an exceptionally diverse background. What started out as being involved in concreting, changed into building The Shores at Blacks Beach and running that with his wife Fernanda for many years before Brian decided to become a Sugar Chemist. It is this knowledge that helps Brian to be able to identify potential issues in his crops and make adjustments and take action to give his crops the best chance of success. Brian is also quite handy at creating hybrid breeds of plants and currently has between 20 to 30 different types of mango trees on the farm. There are always new plants being put in as a trial including seedless lychees – now wouldn’t that be good!
The Camilleri’s currently grow pawpaws (red and yellow), custard apples, lychees, soursop, figs, mangoes, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, watermelons, cabbage and plenty of citrus including lemons, mandarins, oranges, limes, grapefruit, pomelos, lemonades and tangelos! The Camilleri’s also sell a range of plants such as chilli’s so you can grow your own at home! Oh and don’t forget to grab some of their mushroom compost to make your garden grow incredibly quickly.
And just to keep him a bit busier, Brian decided to start cane farming about 3 years ago. He must be doing something right because in his first year he won the productivity award, not bad hey!
You will see Brian and his wife, Fernanda and one of their sons, Alan on a regular basis at the Camilleri’s Farm Market store (next to BP Macs Truck Stop) and also at various markets happening around the region. The Camilleri’s are huge supporters of local businesses and stock a variety of products made within our region including Eungelladale Bath Milk, Cloudy Mountain Cordials, Sarina Sugar Shed products and plenty of others! My next plan is to spend some time in the kitchen with Fernanda as I hear she is quite an incredible cook and being from an Italian background, it is bound to be delicious! Any other produce that is sold at Camilleri’s Farm Market is supplemented by growers predominantly in the Bundaberg and Burdekin areas. Brian makes a point of meeting and building solid relationships with the farmers that he buys from and even has some farmers in the region growing crops just for him.
After having to relocate their business due to the roadworks near Hay Point, the Camilleri’s are busy working on their plans for the new building at their Farm Market store (next to BP Macs Truck Stop).
About The Author
Trudie Bishop is our Chief of Foodspiration and an experienced home cook with a passion for local food, learning and getting kids of all ages in the kitchen.