A desire for something new, a bit of Tamar Valley real estate to fall in love with that happened to have a crop of tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers ….
“What an opportunity” is how Tass Massis and Lorraine Summers, the new faces at Tamar Valley Hydroponics, describe their move into primary produce a mere four months ago.
Tass explains that love first brought him to Tasmania about four years ago. Lorraine was working in real estate and he was not enjoying being at home doing the housework. In Melbourne he had owned pet stores and managed production companies and they were looking to do something together.
Lorraine was born in the United Kingdom and migrated to Western Australia at age 12. She moved to Tasmania 23 years ago and had a long a successful career in real estate but was looking for something else.
“We decided to find an alternative life style with less stress and better work life balance. Tamar Valley Hydroponics came on the market and the rest as they say is history,” she said.
Together with their daughter they moved up to the North to the “beautiful Tamar Valley” and a crop of ripening tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables. Tass was born in Greece on a farm where his family had had grown local produce. As a nine-year-old he migrated with his family to Melbourne but then went into retail.
The bit of Tamar Valley real estate that they fell in love with came with some substantial primary produce, a challenge both more than willing to take on. The previous owner Jamie Sparks had planted the crops that Tass and Lorraine are now harvesting. “We saw this as an opportunity,” and instead of being daunted they are learning quickly all there is to know about growing tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, capsicums, chillies and have recently brought the most delicious watermelons to the market. So good that Della Vale Gelato has had delectable watermelon gelato on their menu for the last few weeks.
From their first day at the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market, Lorraine and Tass have engaged with customers, sharing their story and listening to feedback and in response have changed their packaging from plastic to paper bags. They have had a rewarding start to their market journey and are anticipating an exciting next season. Lorraine and Tas are looking forward to growing an entire crop from the planting to harvest and have exciting plans to grow their produce and value add.
Visit them at their stall at the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market each Saturday.
The couple also breed German shepherd dogs and have successfully shown them all over Australia.