Camden farm’s first harvest a huge success

When the Vella family opened their new farm along Camden Valley Way they knew the land was good, but they didn’t expect it to be this good.

“We’ve been doing the first harvest over the last few weeks,” farmer Matt Vella said.

“We’ve had a really good yield and the quality is really good as well.

“The vegetables are just bursting out of the ground.”

The Camden-based family are growing iceberg lettuce, cos lettuce and cabbage at the commercial market garden.

The Vella family have been farming in Camden and Wollondilly for more than 50 years.

Mr Vella said the 66.5 hectare farm at the entrance to Camden, which stretches from Camden Valley Way to Kirkham Lane, was ideal for farming.

“It was virgin land because it hasn’t been planted in a long time,” he said.

“There is a lot of good organic materials there and plenty of water.”

The Vella family also operate farms at Razorback and Ellis Lane.

Mr Vella said they had moved a lot of their produce to the Camden Valley Way farm this year.

“Our other farms are only on dam water and there hasn’t been a lot of rain, so this place has been great [in comparison],” he said.

“We do a continuous harvest for 12 months of the year.

“Lettuce doesn’t have a very long shelf-life so we are busy all year round.”

Camden councillors approved the $455,000 commercial market garden earlier this year.

Mr Vella said they had been expecting some push back from locals given the farm’s iconic Camden location.

“We were expecting some negativity when we first started but that hasn’t happened,” he said.

“We have actually had people drop in and say they love what we are doing with the place.

“We have had good local support.”

Although harvesting is well underway, Mr Vella said the farm was not finished yet.

“I think it’ll be about 18 months at least before we are running at full capacity,” he said.

“There isn’t anywhere you can buy our produce locally at the moment, but once we are up and running properly we hope to get out to the farmer’s markets.”

Mr Vella said he was looking forward to growing the business over the next few years.