Farmers are a resilient bunch, riding the ups and downs of the industry, fuelled by passion and resilience; two qualities that the Waugh family have in spades.
Trena and Steven Waugh have been farming in the Gympie district for over 30 years, growing an array of fruit and vegetables at their Widgee and Glastonbury properties.
The couple are currently growing snowpeas, beetroot, corn, beans, coriander, parsley, kale, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, zucchinis, silverbeet, shallots, chokos, dill, red cabbage, heirloom tomatoes and edible flowers.
They originally started selling to market 28 years ago, working around the clock to pick and pack truckloads of produce to send to Brisbane, before opening their own market in Gympie ten years ago.
"We'd done the farmers markets but we didn't want to keep getting up at one o'clock in the morning," Ms Waugh joked.
She said they had always grown as much variety as they could and when they first opened their market, they were stocked with all of their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
"We didn't stock any other produce at the start, mostly because we just had so much of our own, there was just a lot," Ms Waugh said.
"We were one of the few where it was actually all of our own. That doesn't happen very often.
"We just had a lot of variety because we could pick it and bring it straight in.
"It was crazy, but we loved it."
They currently sell stock from around 60 local producers, as well as all of their own products.
A family operation, the couple's son and daughter also help to run the farm, market and adjoining café, which they opened four years ago.
Ms Waugh said the café provided the opportunity to showcase both their produce and that of other local farmers, as well as a way to combat wastage.
With the Gympie region being hit with enormous rainfalls and several floods throughout the year, Ms Waugh said they have seen a fair amount of damage to their crops.
"There's been lots of stuff getting marked, our tomatoes are all getting split so we do have a lot of waste with that," Ms Waugh said.
"Some things we haven't even been able to source and things like basil for example, we normally would select local stuff for three dollars and we're paying around seven dollars for it.
"The majority of our stuff is grown from March through to Christmas, and then after that it's probably back to five different things, mainly because of the rain.
"We usually always grow tomatoes during that time and last year was the first time we didn't because, between the rain and humidity, you'd end up throwing so much of it away."
However Ms Waugh said the market and cafe were quite fortunate during the floods, coming out relatively unscathed in comparison to other businesses in the area.
As many producers are finding around the country, Ms Waugh said there has also been a shortage of farm workers around the region.
"It is really hard when there's just not enough workers," Ms Waugh said.
"I don't think there's anyone who's not struggling with that at the moment."
Despite the challenges over the years, Ms Waugh said the family were still as passionate about farming and local produce as when they first started their business.
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