Farming small leads to big results for family member’s childhood dream
Denise and Pele started farming 12 years ago to produce for their own family. As the farm and animals grew, they soon found themselves selling to the public as Denise, who grew up in England, realised her childhood dream. “Since I was a teenager, I wanted to be a farmer. I think it is a calling or something in your blood, and I always loved the animals, so this farm is the two passions combined,” says Denise. When she found the property that is now the Marlee-May Farm, about 60 kilometres from Noosa, she knew it was the perfect spot. “This property was a chance to do it, so I grabbed it.”
Denise and Pele feel that by farming small, they can ensure better quality and health among their animals and produce. “Being a small farm, we can create a uniquely free range environment for all the animals, and therefore the animals are happier and healthier, and our products are the best they can be.”
In fact, “farming small” has allowed the husband and wife team control over all aspects of their farm, which they otherwise might not have with a larger farm. These practices, combined with their unique “boutique style” farming methods, allow them to control every aspect of their product. The goat’s milk is bottled on farm, the goats are milked and then the milk goes straight into the bottle. Nothing added. "All natural from goat, to bottle, to you,” Denise says.
Realising the benefits of these practices and the happiness of their animals, Denise and Pele feel their boutique farm is just where it needs to be. “We have no plans of getting big,” Denise stated as she discussed little ways they interact with the animals to keep them happy. For example, when temperatures heat up, they turn on sprinklers for the chickens to enjoy and stay cool. Never locked in a shed, they also have the luxury of going in and out of their laying area whenever they choose, with good quality food without yolk colourant.
Contrary to what some may believe, however, Marlee-May Farm’s size doesn’t limit its selection. They also have Wessex saddle back pigs, Saanen dairy goats, Indian runner ducks, and Aylesbury ducks. The farm produces free range pork, ham, bacon and sausages, free range chicken, unpasteurised goats’ milk, free range chicken eggs and duck eggs.
If you stop into the Noosa Farmers’ Market this week, you’ll stumble upon the farm’s popular goat’s milk, as well as eggs, both of which are in season due to the natural farming practices used. “Commercial chickens are bred to produce more eggs,” Denise stated, adding that the happy chickens at Marlee-May’s are heritage breeds which naturally produce more eggs in summer. “They’re also prettier, especially the roosters, which are beautiful,” she stated, adding that customers can also visit the farm to see the happy animals or their healthy and transparent farming practices. For more information about Marlee-May’s farm, visit www.marleemayfarm.com.au