Richard Hawkes is a sixth-generation Hawkes farmer. That means Hawkes hands have been pulling fresh fruit and vegetables – predominantly spring onions and carrots – out of Victorian soil for more than 100 years. Things changed in 2007 when Richard started growing the trusty potato in a small area on the Boneo Farm where the family has resided for the past half-century. Today, Hawkes’ Premium Kipflers are served in restaurants across Australia.
Turning off the Boneo Road into the property, there is no escaping that this is a working farm. The red-tinted soil we’re so accustomed to seeing in these parts makes for a friendly welcome down a long drive past the tour trailers, the veggie patch picnic lawn, and a 1970-something red Farmall Tractor for the kids (and the big kids) to play farmer on.
As far as the eye can see, the 140-acre farm sprawls in all directions against the Peninsula’s soft, expansive horizon. Tractor rides, corn picking, strawberry picking, meet the farmer and group tours fill the perfectly planted rows with activity at different times, but the main attraction – the produce itself – grows with absolutely minimal spraying all year round.
And the farmgate, which started as a few bags of spuds and an honesty box, now stocks fresh produce from around the Mornington Peninsula – and even further afield for a handful of specialist goods.
Many farmers and producers in the region supply around the nation, but do not sell direct, so Hawkes Farm is making the best of local, available to everyone in a one-stop-shop. Being farmers themselves, they know how to look after farmers, so everything you see is responsibly and sustainably sourced. Hawkes even won gold in the Food Tourism 2019 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards.
The shelves are brimming with the usual local suspects: Pure Peninsula Honey, Mock Red Hill sparkling juices and Baker Boys bread, but also feature a few that are harder to find; Cape Schanck Olive Estate olive oil, Red Hill Truffles and hazelnuts, Rye Sourdough Co, and Tuerong Farm flour.
The extremely friendly farm gate staff serve up fresh Boneo Road Roasters coffee and cakes supplied by The Hidden Kitchen in Tootgarook, while Hawkes’ very own iconic food truck whips up strawberry smoothies in the summer, hot soup in the winter, and the most divine hand-cut, thrice cooked hot chips all year round.
The farm has a great presence at local markets up and down the Peninsula, and its open days on public holidays are legendary; with a bouncy castle, face painting, pick-your-own, live music, Sunny Ridge ice-cream, and St Andrews Beach Brewery beer.
COVID operation: Online order + contactless collection to the boot of your vehicle at store.hawkesvegetables.com.au
Farmgate: Every day 8am – 5pm (except Christmas Day). Food Truck: Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 3pm