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SIMONE JELLEY STILL KICKING GOALS WITH PRETTY PRODUCE OUT CANUNGRA WAY! Former Macleay Island resident Simone Jelley has taken her Pretty Produce to some giddy new heights. But to do it, she had to abandon her island dreams and move to several acres out near Canungra to a site that offered growth for the future for her Pretty Produce brand. But, it was from our islands and her ‘plot’ on Lamb Island where she first established Pretty Produce and became ‘recognised’. Back in 2016 she became a Gold Medallist at the ‘delicious; Produce Awards 2016 and 2017. However, her stay on our islands wasn’t sustainable. At that time drought and other factors, played a role in moving the business from our islands to the Canungra property. Simone told The Friendly Bay Islander: “There were many contributing factors in the end, not least of which was the barge system and freight factors. Water was the main one though - you can’t do any farming without water. “It taught me how to be super smart about water use and also how to get maximum intensity of growing/ production with limited resources.” Whilst on the islands though, Simone identified island edible weeds and began pairing them with tasting notes for chefs at a time when the trend for wild and foraged foods was taking off. She also began exploring chemical-free growing and has become an advocate for practices such as stewardship of the soil, attracting predatory insects, and interplanting species to avoid monoculture. By 2019 it had become all too hard growing produce on Lamb Island and the water issues, so Simone and husband Dave decided to return to their roots and buy a farm on the mainland. Both had grown up in country Australia, Simone on cattle and sheep stations near Bathurst and then Kalgoorlie; and Dave on a farm in Victoria. It took a year to find their ‘jewel’ 3.2-hectare Canungra property, Silverwood Farm. “We are situated on Lamington National Park road near O’Reillys Vineyard, Canungra. The farm is very pretty. It sits on the Canungra Creek where we have access to 200m of creek side of a beautiful tinkling brook with platypus, frogs, turtles and much bird life. “The farm is set up for chemical-free fresh food production season April to November, then a “Wild Flower Forest” concept through the summer months. “I grow a field of sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos that people can come and visit. I also run special Farm Gate open days (Destination Scenic Rim) and Eco and Health events (Meditation/Yoga/Art retreats). Simone today sells “pressed flowers portfolios” to cake makers around the world. I “I sell produce online Australia wide, including to some beautiful people on the islands. It’s been a wonderful experience with potential for more application. “I’m currently developing kitchenware with pressed botanicals imbedded. “Pretty Produce as a “brand” is all about creativity, resilience and quality; but primarily about the love of nature and flowers, Simone told us. She added: “Dave and I miss our beloved island friends. We miss the stunning natural coastal scenery. We miss the unique characters and also the incredible sense of community.”

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