A little piece of paradise is how I would describe my visit to Dean and Alison Halpin at New Reefs Hydroponics where they have been growing a variety of hydroponics at their Grasstree Beach property for the last twenty years. When I arrived, they were busy picking some bok choy that had to go out for an order that day – you can’t argue with that level of freshness!

Dean and Alison doing some picking!

Prior to starting their business, Dean was an underground miner and Alison was a nurse but it was their desire to have a better lifestyle that saw them go down this path. They have raised their four boys on the property and I am sure that it was an added bonus that the boys would always help out in the business and still do when it’s needed. Dean believes that having the boys working in the business from a young age has taught them to have a great work ethic and just to get in and do what needs to be done. Dean and Alison receive compliments from the boys employers and others about their work ethic so I guess you can’t really argue with that can you!

One of the hydroponic areas!
Rows and rows of basil!

Dean and Alison grow a selection of lettuces, baby spinach, rocket, pak choi, bok choi, coriander, dill and basil on their five acre property and they are certainly kept busy considering that all of their plants are hand seeded and grown on the property as well.

Baby plants!
Where it all begins!

This season they decided to put some roma tomato bushes in as well and they have been going gangbusters. Might be another future crop here!

Just a handful of tomatoes!
Roma tomatoes going gangbusters!

We use all of the New Reefs Hydroponics products in our cooking classes, catering and at home and we can certainly vouch for the quality and freshness. There are a number of restaurants and cafes around our region that also use these products and they are also stocked at Vegies Unlimited. You can find Dean and Alison each week at the Greater Whitsundays Farmers Markets selling their produce! Come along and have a chat to them sometime.

About The Author

Trudie Bishop is our Chief of Foodspiration and an experienced home cook with a passion for local produce, learning and getting kids of all ages in the kitchen.

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