You might know of a few local streets, places and businesses that bear the name Rehbein. But have you ever stopped to ask why it’s everywhere? “It’s a name as common as Smith in Bundaberg,” Anthony Rehbein joked. “A lot of us don’t know each other, but we’re told three Rehbein brothers came here from Germany in the late 1800s.”
There are gun shop owners, painters, bankers, veterinary nurses, carpenters, and teachers who bear the surname Rehbein. In Anthony’s case, he comes from a long line of sugarcane farmers who toiled the red dirt around the Hummock and Childers. From a young age Anthony worked long hours on the family farm with his grandfather, dad, uncle and brother. Together, they supplied fruit and vegetables to the likes of Edgell. “We were taught to believe there was more to life than just farming,” he said. “Dad was entrepreneurial, always evolving with market conditions and trends, trying new things. At one point we even had a caravan park.”
Anthony and his wife Kate, who studied tourism at university, were growing turmeric, melons, ginger and handcrafting a condiment range called BundaGinga when they teamed up with chefs Amanda and Larry Hinds to start Winterfeast Farmers Market. “We wanted to be closer to the consumer. Multinational supermarket giants would try to tell us the product didn’t meet the necessary standards so we would reduce our price and yet, at the very same time, some of the top chefs in the state were serving our potatoes and proudly listing Hummock Farms on their menu for everyone to see,” Anthony said.
Kate said the 2am starts for market set-up and pack-down were brutal and the profit margin was dismal. Disease halted their ginger production and so they went in search of a new challenge. “Ultimately what we wanted was a café that sold the best local produce to showcase Bundaberg – a top notch farmers market that’s open more than one day a week,” Kate said.
The pair bought Lavish Flowers in East Bundaberg, made some significant changes and rebranded it as One Little Farm. “There aren’t many places where you can sit and enjoy a coffee while you watch a florist at work,” Kate said.
The Rehbein family has sold most of their farmland now, but they continue to grow micro herbs and edible flowers. “We’re concentrating on working with the fantastic farmers who supply fresh produce to our little agritourism business. No doubt we’ll continue to have ideas and take on exciting new ventures, but at heart I’ll always be a farmer,” Anthony said.
Visit their shop and it’s plain to see – it’s Anthony and Kate’s understanding, experience and love of the horticulture sector that makes One Little Farm so special.