PRODUCE WITH A PURPOSE: Russell James honours his late son in the naming of his new farm gate stall in Killarney.
PRODUCE WITH A PURPOSE: Russell James honours his late son in the naming of his new farm gate stall in Killarney.

Killarney father pays heartfelt tribute to late son

THE farm gate stall on Willow St, Killarney, is much more than just a new business venture to owner Russell James.

The stand, called Matthew’s Rest Produce, was named in honour of his son, who died in a car accident in 2017.

“Having the stall is recreating what used to be and what people do miss is the ability to explore roadside stalls on an afternoon drive,” he said.

“It was an emotional moment for me as we worked with my partner Sonya’s sons, Luke and Lance, building the store that has Matthew’s name and memory built into it.”

Mr James said he hoped the stall erected at the weekend would encourage people to grow their own food and support local growers.

“It’s really important right now. We really need to pull together as a community,” he said.

Mr James has filled the stand and fridge with seasonal produce grown using the no-dig garden method.

“What I’m known for is my strawberries,” he said.

“What the method does is you don’t kill the soil.

“You build it up, you just lay the cardboard first and then you apply the composts and soils on top.

“The idea being if you continually dig up soil it destroys the micro organisms in the soil.”

Mr James had previously run the stall in a Banksia St location but was forced to close it when the worst of the drought hit.

“It’s been a good response,” he said.

“We had a lot of locals who knew where our stall was and when we had to close down they were asking when we’d open up again.

“They were happy to have a local outlet.”

The stall also provides firewood, seedling kits, and kits to make your own kombucha.

“When we would go to the markets that’s how we sold our produce, we busked, all that's gone for us,” he said.

“I can well imagine when the traffic starts moving back in again that old stall farm gate type of thing could well be profitable for small growers.”