Peter McDonnell with the ripening strawberry crop. A15_4621

MACCA’S Farm in Glen Forbes is set for a big summer, with eased COVID restrictions ensuring there’ll be plenty of visitors savouring a paddock to plate experience.

They’ll pick their own strawberries and meet the resident free-range pigs that wander the property and forage for food.

Wonthaggi’s Chloe Williams and her sons Rayne and Taylen Cummings visited the farm last Thursday, enjoying the fruits of their labour as they sat eating their self-harvested strawberries.

“It was great and they’re delicious,” Taylen said of the picking experience.

The tranquil scenery of the farm makes a perfect setting for the produce store and restaurant, added to the business about three years ago.

Owners Peter McDonnell and Angelika Christensen diversified from a farm-only model to take control of their own destiny.

“We were wholesaling veggies but we realised you’re more of a price taker than a price maker; so we decided to go more to the retail, direct to the public, and then we can set our own prices at a reasonable rate,” Mr McDonnell said.

With Christmas fast approaching, he outlined the process used to prepare the farm’s popular festive ham.

“It’s all made here and it’s injected with brine and then soaked in the brine for three or four days and then it’s smoked.

“We use a European birch and a redgum chip and it just has that nice smoky sweet flavour to it.”

He urged those wanting a Christmas ham to place an order.

As well as pigs, the farm is home to free-range Angus beef cattle.

The produce store shows off the farm’s beef and pork products, alongside an array of vegetables, fruit, cheeses, herbs, biscuits and other offerings.

“Most of the veggies are grown on the farm and, what we don’t, we source locally or from the wholesale market,” Mr McDonnell said.

The onsite restaurant showcases the farm’s fresh produce, with all menu items made on the premises.

Macca’s Farm has evolved greatly since starting out as a hobby farm when Peter and Angelika bought it almost 15 years ago.