What started as a hobby whipping up some muesli slices for school kids visiting the Springhill farm is now a fully baked Victorian-based business, serving delicious treats to the world from original home-made recipes.
We caught up with the Springhill Farm team to learn more.
Who are the team behind Springhill Farm and what made you launch?
Springhill Farm was started by Ray & Jo Barber in the early 1980’s. Springhill Farm was a working farm but also hosted kindergarten children who would come and learn about life on a country farm. Children spent the day enjoying hayrides, sheep shearing, feeding cows, milking goats and collecting eggs. Before they jumped on the bus to head home again, they had a taste of Jo’s famous muesli slice. Word got around, and muesli slices started rolling out the door, and soon Jo and Ray started baking as well as farming. Springhill Farm established new premises in 1992 and with that came growth in the business and the product range. Fiona, Jo and Ray’s eldest daughter, joined the business in 2004 followed by husband James Whatley in 2010, and it was then that business took its next leap forward. Today, operated by Fiona & James, Springhill Farm continues to grow, and proudly supply delicious treats to cafes, airlines, events, supermarkets, offices, gourmet grocers and more.
What does a day in the life of the Springhill Farm team look like?
We are a small, but efficient team at Springhill Farm. James as General Manager takes care of everything to do with production and supply – including ingredients, packaging, scheduling, and ensuring our products are top-notch quality and out the door on time. Fiona, heads up Sales & Marketing, and with her team ensures that our products look fabulous, people know about them, and retailers are stocking them. And when it comes time for some new product development, or just a delicious morning tea, it's Jo we turn to with for her tried and try baking skills.
What was involved in developing the range of Springhill Farm?
Our business (and family story) started with one muesli slice has now expanded to a full range of delicious snacks. Traditional, real, wholesome ingredients - it’s what is grown in the countryside that inspires so much of our Springhill Farm range. Our family recipe books are well worn, and used as inspiration for the new treats that are still dreamt up and tested in our farmhouse kitchen.
What is Springhill Farm’s greatest achievement to date?
There have been many great achievements along the way, but a real highlight was having Qantas select our products for their inflight menu. It's a relationship we've now had for several years and we feel very proud to be associated with such an Australian icon.
Family owned and operated, what are the challenges, and rewards of working with your family?
For us, the benefits of working with family far outweigh the challenges. As with any small business, you are working hard to build something you believe in, and when you have the support of family pulling in the same direction, it makes it a team effort, where your highs and lows can be shared.
What is your favourite Springhill farm product?
So many yummy things to choose from, and it really depends on the time of day. A lemon and yoghurt slice for morning tea, a dark choc cherry sweet ball for afternoon tea, and our chocolate brownie with crimson raisin for dessert.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three things, what would they be?
Water, Mangoes and our Lemon & Yoghurt Slice!