If you’ve ever been to the New Brighton or Mullum Farmers Markets (on Tuesdays and Fridays respectively), you’d be forgiven if you thought you were seeing double.
Over the 15 years the Sanson family have operated Seedlings Organic in the region, countless customers have been served at their local market by father and son team Luke and Kyan.
Eldest son Kyan has taken over the market duties from Dad (and doppelgänger) Luke.
“People mistake us for each other a lot, and often people think Dad’s my brother,” Kyan says.
Surfing and seedlings are two things the family has ensured a high level of competence with.
The family run business, started by Luke and his wife Leisha and now supported by their children, Seedlings Organic, supplies high quality, productive seedings to many commercial growers in the region, as well as to backyard growers and food lovers.
Everything is organic, and everything is grown to meet a standard the family is proud of.
“We’ve always worked with farmers – we have about 60 farmers who we work with pretty regularly within 100km,” Luke says.
“From up to Cudgen, south as far as Yamba and west out to Kyogle.
The business is proud to be part of a connected, local food chain, whose seedlings sustain the vegie boxes of growers as well as ending up in the stocks of food processing businesses dealing in everything from kale chips to sauerkratt.
With one of the largest concentrations of organic growers and food in the country, Luke says the family is proud to form part of the industry that makes the Northern Rivers region unique.
“We have a lot of people here who have dedicated a lot of their life to quality food – farmers we’ve worked with for over a decade; rain, hail or shine, who are out there picking, planting, harvesting – doing what needs to be done and getting it to market,” Luke says.
“It’s good connecting with the growers – they’re customers but it’s always been a partnership, in growing and producing food. Working together in an organised way to do something that contributes – and the Farmers’ Markets are a good example of that.”
“When you’ve got people’s livelihoods to be responsible for, you have an obligation to have a really good product.”
Kyan, who is now running both market stalls, says it’s been great to watch the uptake in growing food in their backyard from local customers.
“Recently with Covid people are looking to be more sustainable and self sufficient and growing their own food – we’ve seen a really big change happening,” Kyan says.
“One of the biggest things for us is having a good quality product and to have good feedback coming back in when people come back to the Farmer’s Markets each week, saying the seedlings are growing great.”
The family says while many growers do wholesale, the markets create the opportunity for growers to sell direct – and watching seedlings grow into food producing plants and be harvested and sold locally is a special process to watch.
“You know who you’ve bought something off and when you make it into a meal you can talk to them later and share that experience and feedback,” Kyan says.
“Food is a key aspect of culture, and these are experiences you wouldn’t have in disconnected food chain.”
Keep an eye out for Kyan carving it up on his shortboard in the local surf, or selling healthy, vital seedlings at New Brighton and Mullum Farmers’ Markets.