From farm gate to footy

| posted on February 3, 2018

TAKING a spin around Bathgate Farm in owner Andrew Bathgate’s well-loved Hilux reminded me about the simple things in life.

Fresh air, open skies, the peace and quiet, and the simple act of growing your own produce.

As we stopped at various points on his acreage and walked along endless rows of lush green crops, Mr Bathgate took the time to explain the effort put into each crop, from when they can be picked, to the best type of soil to use, to which crops should be planted together for the best results.

His passion for what he does showed me how hard people work to bring fresh local produce to their community, as well as the effort put in to keep their local businesses afloat when unpredictable weather intervenes.

However, it was never the original plan for the Bathgate family to farm their land, Mr Bathgate said; rather, the family simply started to grow things they liked to eat.

“We bought this place back in 2005 because it’s 30 acres of forest,” he said.

“We didn’t buy it with the intention to farm.

“…it’s spud-growing country out here, so we planted some spuds first and then one thing led to another.

“I always thought of us as more of a glorified market garden, really.”

Wind the clock forward a couple of years and Bathgate Farm’s popularity in the Albany community took off.

The growing enterprise expanded into cauliflowers, carrots, leafy greens, and Asian vegetables.

As the years progressed, Bathgate Farm joined the Albany Farmer’s Market, started selling direct to The Garden Basket in Margaret River and began supplying two of WA’s finest restaurants.

The family farm’s most recent venture is testament to their ability to match quality with quantity.

They are one of the local growers in WA whose products are selected by Morley Growers, a Perth-based company, who recently won the fruit and vegetable supply contract for catering at the new Optus Stadium.

So, the next time you’re chowing down on a burger while watching the Eagles beat the Dockers, you could be eating veggies from Bathgate Farm.

When asked about his reaction to learning of his business’s link to Optus Stadium, Mr Bathgate was rather humble.

“Whenever Morley Growers ring and say, ‘that [produce] was fantastic’, you know it’s being compared to others in the state,” Mr Bathgate said.

“But for me, the most rewarding thing is dealing with people.

“Relationships with clients are absolutely imperative.

“It’s about that sense of achievement and being able to provide what your client wants; that’s the most rewarding thing.”