We celebrate the beginning of Autumn in Daylesford Longhouse, a place of residence, working farm and cooking school – all in one. A place made to honour the seasons inside and out and an ideal location to bring to life our latest collections.
Read on as co-owner Ronnen takes us through what began as a melding of two people’s interests into an inspiring environment made for collaboration, an exchange of ideas and knowledge with the belief that the best things in life are often done together.
Images were taken by photographer Jessica Tremp for our Autumn Winter collections.
It was such a fabulous experience for us to shoot our latest collection at Longhouse. Can you tell us about this inspiring space, its use, and what’s happening on the land?
The Longhouse came as the melding of two people my interest in Food, Hospitality and Sustainability and Trace’s love of Animals, Gardening and living close to the land. As such, we wanted to realise a place and home that had permeability, community and meals shared with others (as well as an exchange of knowledge); one that would support later life learning – as well as a healthy lifestyle connected to our food source. We currently farm and produce all of our own Vegetables, Dairy & Cheese, Meat & Poultry, as well as bread.
As such, the schematic for Longhouse managed to incorporate AirBnb where we continue to meet interesting people, as well as a Cooking School for events and learning; and we run Woofing/Workway programme where we billet backpacker and interesting people from around Australia and the world.
We love the idea of bringing the outside in. How have you made both ecosystems work so seamlessly together?
When we first walked onto the property, we were completely taken by the view. And so we snapped it up, albeit with nothing but the dishevelled rock walls that had to be rebuilt and nothing else. Little did we realise that wind is your enemy, and as such, the cleverness of the scheme is the way in which the 110m long house acts as a shelter, village and net/protector and a water harvesting device. Everything as a result, is fecund. It has ten the best part of 10 years to develop, refine and balance our eco-system and lifestyle, and a lot of hard work. Interestingly enough, we have watched the experiment in comparison between the outside garden which is still coming into its own, and the inside garden, which only took 3 years to establish.
So much of what you do is collaborative. What inspires you to work with people, and how do you bring your ideas to life?
We have always been of the belief that the best things in life are often done together. I’ve never found it fun doing things solo. I also think that the best ideas come from the creative friction imbued in a collaborative process. We have applied this thinking in both the partners/consultants through to the presenters we bring on board as part of the cooking school. Out of it, I think the quid pro quo is an exchange of ideas and knowledge – this sits at the core of DLH.
Can you describe how Autumn on the farm feels and what you will be harvesting?
Autumn is one of our favourite seasons for many reasons: it signifies the turning of everything from brown/yellow to green again and the amazing array of autumnal colours. We are blessed to have an array of deciduous trees and vines that present amazing Claret, Iridescent Pink, through to Yellow/Orange colour. Virginia Creeper, Smoke-bush, Ash and Poplars all feature on our property. Also, Daylesford’s amazing Swiss, German & Italian heritage means there are a lot of European Trees planted in our area that provide inspiration and colour. Autumn also signals the transition and extreme cold that ensues, we love the fact it sometimes snows. Autumn also allows for pruning and stocktake; and some downtime to recover.
On a culinary note, Autumn also heralds the end of plenty, and we are often busy bottling, preserving and drying for the winter months.
What special things do you have planned for 2023?
2023 will see us go off-grid with the finalisation of our solar project. We also want to try a few new classes that incorporate Foraging, Filo-pastry and potentially a music event/festival.