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Forge Creek Free Range

Embracing the east ForgeCreekFreeRange

Walking into Peter and Deb Hahnemann’s home in Forge Creek, it is immediately apparent they have embraced East Gippsland as their ‘forever’ destination.

The splashback in the kitchen is a 1939 Bairnsdale District survey map, the striking wooden floors are from locally sourced timber, and the wide, expansive windows beautifully frame the Aussie bush surrounding the house.

“We used all local tradespeople in the build and we couldn’t be happier, everyone worked together with great ideas,” Peter said.

Deb and Peter moved their young family down from the Mornington Peninsula at the end of 2013 when they decided to make the move east.

Hahnemann

“I spent my childhood holidays at Metung and I have very fond memories of spending time on the water fishing and water-skiing,” Deb reflected.

“We talked about moving down here for a few years as we used to come down here and visit family friends.

“I thought how nice it would be for the kids to have a bit more space.”

They started scouting for a place to bring up their two children, Maya and Lucas, and settled on Forge Creek for its proximity to both services and leisure.

Since moving to the 75-acre block, the Hahnemann’s have set up a successful egg producing business; Forge Creek Free Range.

“We wanted to utilise the property and, although previously stocked with cattle, we knew that there wasn’t enough land to make a living from that alone.

“We thought of having chooks and more and more we liked the idea,” Deb laughed.

The business has gradually grown to 2,500 laying hens, and demand will ultimately drive further growth.

“Support for this little business venture has been fantastic and we proudly supply a number of local businesses,” Peter said.

“The part I love about this business is that Deb comes back with good-energy stories about local people who are invested in their businesses and their community.”

In under 3 years the business has grown from a small “Mum and Dad” business to a company with 5 employee’s.

"We now have in excess of 30 local East Gippsland regional businesses who regularly purchase our eggs." Peter mentioned.

“It’s great to have a business that is so well supported locally.” Deb added.

Demand, largely as a result of great customer service and product quality, has been driving expansion.

"We now also deliver into a number of select retail outlets in Melbourne. The decision to expand into Melbourne was in response to consumer demand, largely driven through social media, and tourists retuning to Melbourne and still wishing to purchase our product." Peter states.

"We also needed to manage the seasonal demand fluctuations which occur in a region which has significant tourism impacts. This is an issue given we produce a product “grown fresh daily”, and it’s value is largely in its freshness." Peter adds.

Deb and Peter are members of the Romawi Landcare Group and have partnered with Trust For Nature to rehabilitate a portion of their land.

The family enjoy exploring their property, spotting the two wedge tailed eagles, which nest in the bush and following echidnas down to the creek.

“Before moving I thought that the lakes and the bush would be my favourite thing about living here, but it’s the people, and sense of community,” Peter said.

Deb agreed; “I’ve never felt more at home and our friendships here are stronger than ever.”

 

Award winning eggs!

2016 Austalian Food Awards- GOLD Medal & "Best in Class" (with a score of 98 out of 100)

2016 East Gippsland Business Awards- FINALIST "Agribusiness"

2015 East Gippsland Business Awards- FINALIST "Agribusiness"

2015 Australian Food Awards - GOLD Medal

2015 East Gippsland Business Awards- WINNER "Best New Business"