Fortune is found in Family

Riria Smeaton

Real Farmwives

Published : November 30, 2014 |

The ‘Real Farmwives’ series gives you the chance to meet farmwives from across the globe who are living a simple, soul-centered and fulfilling life on the land.  I thought I would share my interview with you.

​Catriona Rowntree is best known as a Travel Reporter for popular Australian television travel show, Getaway. Some years ago now, Catriona, a city chick, fell for a Fresh Farmer and now calls their farm in rural Victoria her home. When not travelling or farming, she’s Mum to two little boys, and also designs a range of baby clothes for Target, writes, gardens, is a passionate advocate for Landcare, Australian Wool, all things to do with women’s wellbeing and everything that’s naturally beautiful.


​1. In what part of Australia is your farming property?

Rural Victoria, just north of Geelong.

2. What do you farm?

We’re a cropping and fine wool property.

3. Did you have different views on agriculture and farming before you married your husband? If so, what were they?

Hmm, not really, I’ve always had the deepest respect for Farmers, if anything I’m more in awe now, of their workload, their pride and passion for what they do and their need for a really really good PR agent.

4. What has surprised you the most about being married to a farmer?

I never see my Husband! Ripped off, sometimes I even feel jealous of the farm like she’s The Other Woman. I want my money back!

5. Favourite time of year on the farm?

I love shearing! Just love the buzz, the noise, the funny characters and that to me everything looks like a Tom Roberts painting. Our poor shearers are used to me taking photos of them, trying to crack jokes with them (that always fall flat), attempting to pretty up the shed and my horrendous baking. Bless them.

6. What are you loving cooking at the moment?

Anzacs, in fact I’m becoming quite famous for them, which between you and me is a bit of a fluke. I’m also indebted to my new friends Sara Lee, Mr White Wings and Greens. We’ve bonded and any visitor to our home is the happy recipient of that friendship.

7. Describe your perfect Saturday morning on the farm?

My children have slept until 8am (never going to happen), my Husband delivers me breakfast in bed of boiled eggs (chooks stopped laying ages ago) and the days papers (we’re too far for the paper boy to deliver, also never going to happen). Then I find out that Paul Bangay has dropped by to check on the grand garden he’s designed for me and declares my roses the best he’s ever seen, even though my husband says I’ve developed a talent for ‘bringing things home to die’. We garden, check the perfect crops, Realise our sheep are total rock stars and we are so lucky to be living in a French Provençal chateau… Hey, you said describe perfect. I just read this answer out to my Fresh Farmer and he stopped me with ‘do you think your Nina in Offspring having a daydream‘.

8. What’s currently growing in your vegetable garden?

Out of control parsley, mint, artichokes, tomatoes, fruit trees a plenty and way too many bulbs that I’ve developed a total addiction to. A passion fruit vine is next on my wish list.

9. Favourite quote at the moment?

‘Were you born in a tent?’ We say this to our children daily as they always leave the kitchen door open.

10. Apart from your beautiful family, what do you miss most when you’re travelling?

Considering I’m homesick before I even step on the plane… Everything. Love m’shower, m’garden, m’bed, m’slippers. All the simple things in life, love ‘em.

11. I adore your farm kids clothing at Target, what was the inspiration behind this range?

I look out my window and there’s the inspiration on a platter. The creams of the wheat, the Australian flora and fauna. Whatever my own children and those from mothers group are passionate about. It’s easy! I shouldn’t say that but it’s a joy to design because it’s so heartfelt. When I see a child wearing my clothes I actually tear up I’m so overwhelmed that other people share my taste. Now, just wait for the wool range coming out soon in Purely Merino stores. Can’t wait!

12. What are your tips for living a simple, soul-centered and fulfilling life on the land?

Lead with your heart, be grateful for each and every moment as you don’t know what’s around the corner. Indulge in Catalogues and online shopping and be really nice to your In-laws.

13. If you’d like to add anything extra, please feel free.

We all need to band together and share as many of our positive stories as possible to the world. I’m so proud that what we do is considered amongst the finest in the world, whether it’s our wool or wheat. I want both the Farmer and ALL my fellow Aussies to feel both proud and supportive of that.

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