Barry proves that when you?re hot, you?re hot
NOT long after Barry Longland 'semi-retired' to the Tweed, he hit upon newfound success with a hot product derived from a small niche crop he grows on a hillside close to Mt Warning.
The former auditor and accountant planted a cash crop of chillis, began stewing them up, then marketing his own, increasingly-popular chilli relish.
The venture has been helping pay the way for life back in the Tweed, which he came to love on regular trips to relatives in his boyhood.
"I was working as an auditor and accountant, mainly for the Commonwealth Government, when in 1996 Howard came to power and a lot of redundancies were offered," he recalled yesterday on the steep volcanic slopes at Uki where he has established his dream of a chilli farm.
"I used the money to renovate Queenslander-style houses in Brisbane and did that a few times to a point where I could afford to come down here.
"I wanted to make a chilli farm and experiment with chillies.
"I read up about it and got a lot of information - not with the view initially of making a living, but for something to supplement my income."
Uki had the right soil type, his northern facing slope had plenty of sunlight and the district gets ample rain.
The final encouragement to push ahead with the venture he now truly relishes came from the Murwillumbah Show Society.
After experimenting with many recipes, Mr Longland entered his chilli relish in the 2003 Murwillumbah Show - and to his delight came away with first prize in the locally-competitive relish section.
"That's what gave me the en- couragement to go ahead," he said.
All his produce is sold through the weekly Saturday Uki produce markets - with a typical 500gram jar selling for $4.50 - and the "not too hot" cracker of a spread is literally relished by an increasing following.