THE demand for organic produce is growing in the region, as more people want to eat straight from the farm.
It is a growing market that Haven Grown owner Matthew Rohrsheim knows well - he is struggling to keep up with the demands of the community.
Mr Rohrsheim started Haven Grown about three years ago as a hobby, which soon became his full time job.
However, it was Mr Rohrsheim's experience in broadacre farming that led to him starting the business.
"I worked for about seven or eight years before in plant breeding, working with wheat and barley," he said.
"Before that I studied horticulture and permaculture in Melbourne.
"I was a keen weekend gardener, so I would work all week in agriculture and in my own garden on weekends.
"However, the more that I worked in broadacre farming and saw the chemicals that were poured onto crops, the more i was pushed in the other direction and wanted to grow organic food."
Mr Rohrsheim said growing vegetables commercially could be daunting for some people, but he was used to working with large crops.
"I was used to working with big numbers of plants, so growing 1000 plots was nothing compared with working in cereal breeding and growing 40,000 plots.
"I wasn't overwhelmed by the big numbers, whereas other people could be."
Mr Rohrsheim grows a range of vegetables, including pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, capsicum, and artichokes.
The farm also has pigs and sheep.
"The crop residue from last summer's crops will go to the livestock rather than composting it," Mr Rohrsheim said. "This way it ends up back in the soil system."
Mr Rohrsheim said the business was very labour intensive.
"I tried to plant something every three weeks so the harvest is staggered," he said.
"It's not just the harvest process that takes a lot of work, it's the processing of the produce as well.
"It's not too bad to pick carrots, but then you also have to wash and prepare them.
"I'm trying to reduce the number of crops I have and improve my efficiency to save my back."
Mr Rohrsheim said he was constantly trying to improve the business and make it more efficient.
"When I started, I had sand but I've been trying to constantly improve the soil health - that's the biggest challenge," he said.
"It is time consuming and involves a lot of shovelling, but we are getting there."
Mr Rorsheim is also trying to use technology to make the work more efficient. He has a hand-held harvester and seeder.
The Haven farm has the same weather issues as other businesses in the region.
Mr Rohrsheim said frost was always an issue.
"The plants seem to know when it's going to happen too - they start dying just before the frost hits," he said.
Dry conditions early in the year were also a problem.
"I've tried to work through it but next year I'm just going to shut down for January and February - you can't fight the dry," Mr Rohrsheim said.
He said the demand for organic produce was increasing in the region.
"The response from the community has been awesome," he said. "People love organic stuff and produce that is grown locally."
Mr Rohrsheim sells his produce at farmer's markets.
It is also stocked in a few restaurants in the region.
"I recently supplied produce for a special event at the Murtoa Stick Shed," he said.
"I had chefs from Melbourne there tell me that I needed to take my stuff to markets in the city.
"I can't keep up with the demand here though"
Mr Rohrsheim said the best part of the business was the support from the community.
"When people tell me how much they love my produce, it is very rewarding," he said.
"I would like to mentor people in the future too and get more people involved in organic gardening.
"We could have half a dozen people just around Horsham doing the same thing and we would all make money.
"The demand is getting overwhelming and I can't produce enough to keep everyone happy."
Mr Rohrsheim used to sell produce directly from his farm.
"It was getting too much when I would have 40 or 50 cars showing up," he said.
Mr Rohrsheim said he liked the fact that he could now feed his family food that he knew where it came from.
"It's hard work but it's very satisfying," he said.