Farm Feature: Five Sixty Farms

Owner – Pepe Fassos. Chef by trade. Married with 8 kids that are home-schooled! Self-taught farmer from years of food passion and farm hopping. Based in Bungalung Country nestled next to the mighty Wilson River you will find our humbled family “Five Sixty Farms”. Formed on a bootstrap budget and a wing and a prayer we began growing Microgreens

Market research showed that the interest in them was growing but the industry was cornered and swamped by three major players already. This did not deter us. We spotted a hole – the general public and hospitality sector in our region. Chefs and people of the like wanted more choice and education on what benefits and true beauty they possessed.
Unbeknown we were seemingly guided into the business and our start was thrust upon us with hard beginnings.
Five years ago after a sudden redundancy from managing a chicken (meat) farm my future seemed uncertain. To make matters more difficult my lower spine was overdue for major surgery. My health needed a major overhaul and my bank account was drying up. Inspired by my wife Jacqui - I was introduced to a relatively new fresh product ‘Microgreens”. After a few attempts to grow some and a few YouTube tutorials my green thumb came to life. And so did my health. I fell in love with them for many reasons. The way they made my immune system kick start, my energy levels rose and in a sense I became addicted to eating them.
The flavours are potent, the colours are deep and to top it off they scream beauty on your favourite foods. The chef in me came to life. I had to let my local hospitality industry know that they have a local producer who has their best interest in mind.
Armed with a product that will make a menu pop with beautiful flavour and colour.
We are humbled and honoured to be supplying many amazing restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and four local northern rivers farmers markets – Byron Bay, Bangalow, Ballina and Lismore.
Naturally we like to grow our food organically. Soil is my game, compost was our way. So adapting these principles to fresh untreated seeds , Five Sixty Farms was born. Business picked up quickly as we joined our local Lismore Produce Market. The people loved it. With a few tricks up my sleeve we worked hard on keeping our footprint low, our packaging compostable and offering some creative mixes of microgreens to the list.
As business picked up over the first year we felt the need to add soil grown baby leaf salad mixes, baby spinach, whole lettuce, herbs and edible flowers to our farm. This gave our farm a status of The greens specialists locally. It gave our loyal customers the chance to rely on us as a one stop greens shop.
4 years have now passed. We are humbled and honoured to be supplying many amazing restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and four local northern rivers Farmers markets – Byron Bay, Bangalow, Ballina and Lismore. We offer over 42 varieties of living and harvested microgreens now along with our full term greens. The farm has 2 casual employees.
This is thanks to our wonderful community who value farmers locally and abroad who are consciously growing food with land preservation and regeneration in mind. Also - those who value the community and support the local economy. Personally ..
I cant thank the people of the Northern Rivers enough for how we all look out for each other and pick each other up when we fall.
We love what we do.. We love where we live
👉  This story excerpt is from Issue #9 of Kickin Up Dust magazine: December 2021