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Macadamia farmer, Robyn Lee, believes diversification is the key to operating a robust business. It’s with this in mind that she and husband Paul have embarked on a plan to crack into a new market – accommodation. Scenic Rim Regional Council recently approved the couple’s plans to construct four cottages on their Greenlee Farm on Rymera Rd at Sarabah.

Robyn says the cabins will help service Canungra’s growing wedding and events industry, as well as diversify their income stream. “We’re only at the starting point really but the plan is to construct the cottages into the side of a hill backing on to our orchard,” she says.  “They’ll all feature big decks to take in the western sunset and the views of Canungra Creek.

“Canungra features three wineries and the School of Arts which can all cater for up to 100 guests. They’re all popular function venues and yet there’s only 33 beds in Canungra. “We don’t think we’ll have a problem filling our accommodation on weekends, particularly during the wedding season.” Robyn says their farm is a niche business, which supplies cracked nuts to a number of local health food shops, Visitor Information Centres, wineries and boutique markets.

“It’s still an evolving plan but this area is really screaming out for accommodation,” she says. “We were part of the Council’s Agritourism project and we quickly realised there was a need to diversify our income stream. “Some farmers have renovated a farm cottage or offer a room in the house. For some it’s about offering the whole farm stay experience but that’s not what we’re after. “I’m sure there will be interest in the orchard but we’re really focusing on couples, not families.” The macadamia harvest will run through until the end of August. Robyn says the farm now utilises the services of WOOFERS, whose efforts are invaluable during the busy times.