Vasa grew up as a farmer in a small village in Northern Macedonia, where she grew tobacco and many fruits and vegetables, including chillies, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, sunflowers, and cucumbers, which she would take to the market each week with her family. It also supplied their family with fresh and nutritious food.
When Vasa moved to Australia with her husband Vojo in 1969, she continued the food-growing traditions they had learnt while growing up by planting a large range of vegetables in their Sydney backyard.
She loved great-tasting food and would source many heirlooms and heritage varieties of each type to ensure she could match the flavours she had as a kid. She would share that love with others and give bags of homegrown food to family and friends when they visited.
Her love for eating fresh, homegrown food didn’t stop there! In 2001, Vasa and Vojo bought a small farm in Wandandian, where they expanded their food growing by planting over a quarter acre of vegetables in their garden, including over 150 fruit and nut trees….as a hobby, all dug and picked by hand.
Vasa’s influence rubbed off onto her son Vele, who was always helping with their garden and property infrastructure needs, and he too found that eating homegrown was far better for physical and mental health, especially when all things were done using manual methods, digging and planting by hand.
As garlic was a family dinner table favourite, in 2018, her son Vele began his first test crop of garlic on the Wandandian property. What he discovered was that Vasa and Vojo had had no success growing garlic due to the wrong seed having been sourced. Vele’s trial was a success, leading him to expand his garlic farm over the last few seasons and sell it through online food markets like Food Markies. Ensuring that Vasa’s legacy would continue throughout the community.
In 2022, Vasa sold her Wandandian property and moved closer to her son’s farm near Cooma, where together, they continued growing garlic. Vele launched the new business “Garlic Kingdom Australia“, which grows and distributes for several local growers and anticipates that 1.5 tonnes will be grown in the 2023 season.
Vasa’s passion and love for great food have influenced Vele and her family, friends and the local community. Vele would like to thank those who are in the Garlic Kingdom‘s grower network and all the customers who have bought their products throughout the years. He is so grateful for your support of his family and the garlic he grows.
Would you like to read inspiring stories about individuals in the Shoalhaven region who are making a difference in our local food scene? Or Is there someone you know whose story deserves to be told? Please leave a comment below.