Our Story

Rock Ridge Farming is owned and operated by Peter and Chelley Howe. Both Peter and Chelley were born and raised on the beautiful Atherton Tablelands in local farming families. Peter spent the first ten years of his life in the Emerald Creek area, where his parents farmed numerous crops including tobacco, melons, pumpkins and various other vegetables. Peter and his family later relocated to a property that they had purchased in the Walkamin area. It was here that Peter, under the guidance of his parents, developed a true love for farming and this has been his passion ever since.

Chelley also grew up on a farm where her parents bred beef cattle and raised poultry for egg production. The family also produced hay and grass seed. This farm is still proudly owned and operated by her family today.

The pair met when Peter was contract harvesting grass seed for Chelley’s parents and, as they say, the rest is history. They were married in 1994 and Chelley then made the big move 15 minutes down the road to join Peter on his family farm.

Ten years later, Peter and Chelley purchased their own 20-acre avocado farm. Over the years, they have grown various crops such as grass seed, hay, papaya, bananas, avocados and sugar cane. Bananas and avocados have become the duo’s favourites and are now produced on multiple Rock Ridge farms across the Tablelands.

Peter and Chelley have three children: Thomas, Jess and David.

After finishing high school, Thomas went on to complete an auto-electrical apprenticeship. Four years later, he became qualified and then returned home to the farm in 2017. Thomas’ role on the farm is as an Operations Manager. He works closely with Peter and is heavily involved in the day-to-day management of the farming organisation. Thomas also manages our Willows Road farm, which is an avocado orchard of which Thomas has overseen the planting and maintenance since the farm was purchased.

Thomas has always had a love of motorbikes and machinery and learnt to operate various machines at a young age. As a teenager, he would usually spend his weekends on a backhoe or loader building motocross tracks on any unplanted area on the farms. It is safe to say he has caught the farming bug, just like his Dad!

Jess completed a Bachelor of Business in 2017 and decided to join the Rock Ridge team in 2019, after a stint in Agribusiness lending. Like her brothers, she works as an Operations Manager and enjoys helping to grow the family business. Her skills, energy and enthusiasm are all qualities that help to make Rock Ridge what is it today.

While Jess is mostly office-based and deals with general operations requirements as they arise, she also supports her husband James to manage the avocado packhouse operations during the harvest season. Jess and James work together ensure that all stakeholders – from other local growers right through to our chain store customers – enjoy a positive and seamless interaction with Rock Ridge. With nearly 1 million trays of avocados being packed through the Rock Ridge Packhouse each season, both Jess and James have developed an in-depth knowledge of avocado quality and logistics.

David, the youngest, completed his trade as a diesel mechanic before joining Rock Ridge in 2022. It appears that the apple (or should we say – avocado) hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Like his Dad, David has a true passion for farm machinery, antique tractors and horticulture in general. David now helps to manage the Willows Road Avocado farm and also assists with machinery maintenance.

As fourth-generation farmers, Tom, Jess and David are passionate about agriculture and growing exceptional produce for the Australian market. They will continue to learn and grow through their untapped access to the wealth of knowledge that is contained within the Rock Ridge team. Going forward, Thomas, Jess and David will be vital in the operation of Rock Ridge Farming as the coming years will present challenges that this generation of farmers will be best equipped to take advantage of.

With every year that passes, we experience new challenges and new successes. We are seeing farming operations evolve from the typical husband and wife structures to more complex and sophisticated operations. To continue to operate successfully and be able to produce efficiently and competitively in this ever-changing environment, we must embrace the remarkable advances in technology that we are being presented with. These technological advances provide us with a greater insight into the development and harvesting of our crops, helping us to better meet the needs of the Australian market.

No matter what the future holds, horticulture exists in every fibre of our being and Rock Ridge Farming is here for the long run.