Grower Profile – Karyn Wiggins
Capsicums, chillies, and eggplants
I’m a second-generation producer in Carnarvon. My grandmother and grandfather, Dad’s parents, came to Carnarvon school teaching and managing the tourist bureau 40-odd years ago. Then Dad met Mum and my brother here, she was just travelling through and started working at the local prawning factory. They got married and then had me.
Dad started off picking up produce from plantations with his truck, then he leased a plantation, and eventually we got our own property. We used to do tomatoes, squash, zucchinis, bananas – all that sort of thing. Then we went to capsicums.
My parents were the first ones to grow capsicums under structures up here. It went quite well, for the first few years. Since then we have endured cyclones and floods and viruses, which we never used to have. We have about 7ha of the property under structures now.
I grow many different varieties of chillies, from super-hot to mild. My partner Pompy loves eating chillies every day and I love growing them. It’s great seeing all the different colours and varieties.
We finish the season around December if we are lucky and then we rest our land until the end of February. We’re trialling cover crops to get nutrition back into the soil. For me, the biggest thing for sustainability is resting the ground, because we don’t have a huge amount of land and we use all of it, it’s the best we can do.
I’m a bookkeeper by trade and worked in offices when I was younger. I had my first baby in my late 20s, and after I had her I decided I wanted to stay home and work and look after her at the same time. I grew to love the land more, and now I run the whole property, with help from Dad. My partner works and manages the property as well.
I have four children now, and I want to live here forever. I’d like to see one of my kids take over, if they can. Hopefully the industry will keep going for many years.
I love my job, and I’m always going to be here doing this because I’ll live here forever. It’s something I was brought up with and I love growing things and making customers happy. If there were more vegans in the world it would be great, I could sell more capsicums!