Growing a Legacy
Daley’s Nursery sits unassumingly on the edge of Kyogle, and yet is considered the ‘birthplace’ for many of Australia’s fruit trees and edible plants. Jasmine Phillips gets to know the place - and the people - behind the dairy-farm-turned-thriving-fruit-oasis.
Images by Paul Daley - A Lush Forest
Each week over 650 orders of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruit trees and edible plants are shipped from Kyogle’s Daleys Nursery to backyard growers across the country. With the nursery approaching it’s 40th year of operation — that is a lot of plants! “There is literally a little piece of Kyogle in thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of backyards across the country,” founder and joint owner Greg Daley says. “We have the largest range available in Australia, and mail order to every state except Tasmania and the Northern Territory.”
The range is certainly impressive. The front ‘public nursery’ offers only a small glimpse of the scale of the property which includes netted exclusion orchards, propagation areas, and a bio-dome, all cared for by around 20 staff. Most trees are propagated and grown on-site, though in recent years they have outsourced some products (including bare root stock) to meet demand, then transported those trees to Kyogle to “finish them off”. They are then loaded into trucks which arrive in Kyogle carrying retail or farming goods, and leave packed full of tropical trees many people have never heard of.
In fact, there are almost more rare fruit varieties at Daleys than those that are easy to recognise. Jujube, rollinias, red mombin, dwarf jaboticaba, wax jambu and yacon sit amongst oranges and lemons. The staff say it’s impossible to pick favourites, or that there are ten favourites for every season.
The growers here, including long time management and Daley’s Blog and YouTube presenter Kath Kermode, really know their stuff. Kath has been at Daley’s for 16 years, and believes that it is their ability to grow such a wide range — and be willing to try new things— that has been one of the businesses strengths. “A lot of our customers are your Mum and Dad backyard growers, but there are also a lot who have recently come from overseas and they bring their culture and love of different types of trees and fruit with them,” Kath explains. “They want to be able to grow the things they had as children, to continue a growing culture here.”
Greg Daley, along with his brother Rick and Rod started the nursery in 1980, beginning with a “small vegetable patch in the corner”.
As the business grew, Greg actively engaged in ways to market their product outside of the small town. “When the Internet arrived, Greg had the foresight to jump on board very early,” Kath recounts. “Thats when his nephew Corey Edmed joined the Daley Team. He transformed the business to an online nursery that has enabled us to supply customers all over Australia. Today we utilise any and all new technologies to help benefit the business.”
It is a strategy that works. Daleys Nursery YouTube account has over 20 thousand subscribers, and their most popular video (about avocado trees) has had 835,000 views. They have an active Blog on their website, and a community forum offers a place for home gardeners to ask questions about growing and harvesting - some threads reaching hundreds of responses in a matter of days.
“It is great to be part of a community of people who are passionate about growing food,” Kath smiles. “When someone plants a fruit tree they become part of a living history of that area, and we are helping people create that.”
For more info visit daleysfruit.com.au