For Belinda Hoekstra farming is in her blood. A 5th generation farmer, Belinda’s great great grandparents began dairy farming when they immigrated from Germany. They settled in Myrtlebank and started the farm, which little-known to them, would continue for generations to come.
As a child Belinda grew up watching her Grandfather and partner Mary work the family farm. Belinda would spend hours wandering around exploring all over the farm, and would daydream about one day herself being able to make a living off the land. Years later Belinda would get her chance.
After years of living, and working in Melbourne as an adult, Belinda moved to the local area with her two eldest children a few years after her parents took over the farm. Belinda and her parents began selling the family’s beef at the farmers markets to try and generate some more income from the farm. It was there at the markets one day where Belinda was asked by the market manager if she knew of anyone with chooks.
“He asked me if we had any chooks on the farm because the local egg supplier had pulled out. I didn’t, but I saw an opportunity, and as soon as the market finished I raced home and bought my first 80 hens”.
It was then that Myrtlebank Roaming Eggs was born.
Things were slow at first. It was slow process in the beginning. The 80 hens Belinda had bought were ex battery hens. “When the hens first came didn’t have feathers and had been debeaked. They hadn’t seen natural daylight before and were afraid of everything”. Over time the hens settled in to their new home. Their feathers grew back and they began laying again.
Since these humble beginnings on the Hoesktra farm, Myrtlebank Roaming Eggs is now home to more than 1000 hens. Myrtlebank Roaming Eggs has grown to become Myrtlebank Farm, and when Belinda met her partner Frank a number of years ago, relocated to it’s current location on the Sale- Maffra Rd. Another local farm rich in family history.
Here you will find Belinda’s hens roaming under the safe watch of “Chickaletta”, the giant chook sculpture, along with Myrtlebank Farms growing range of fresh local products and produce available at the ever evolving farm gate stall. And it is here, almost 8 years on, that Belinda continues to grow her childhood dream.