Pepo Farms is the only producer of pumpkin seeds in Australia, growing seeds in Ovens in Victoria’s alpine region for pumpkin seed oil, for flours and for eating as a highly nutritious, nutty-tasting snack – roasted, salted, flavoured with chilli or coated in chocolate. Started 20 years ago by wife-and-husband team Sharan and Jay Rivett, Pepo Farms grows Styrian pumpkins using organic and biodynamic farming practices. It’s a variety renowned for its delicious dark green seeds, contained in a bitter, inedible flesh. Originally conceived as a pumpkin seed farm, the business now cold-presses other oils (walnut, hazelnut, sunflower seed and almond among them) as well as pumpkin seed oil, and distributes snack seeds to more than 700 wholesalers across the country. It has also evolved into a social enterprise that helps people to start their own farms. “The idea is we would give up-and-coming farmers a year of free rent, a mentor, an agronomist and equipment, which saves them hundreds of thousands of dollars as a start-up farm,” says Jay Rivett. “It’s all about social enterprising that maximises financial, social and environmental well-being in our community. ”It’s also part of the Pepo philosophy – looking after the health of their customers, their family, the soil and the community.
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