PADDOCK TO PLATE: Ashlee and Matt's famous pecan pie's are available directly or through the many Northern Rivers Markets.
PADDOCK TO PLATE: Ashlee and Matt's famous pecan pie's are available directly or through the many Northern Rivers Markets.

Why owners of iconic cafe are closing their doors

WITH delicious food served up from the onsite pecan farm, Eltham Valley Pantry is one of the Northern Rivers' best loved cafes.

But owners Ashlee Jones and Matthew James have decided to close their doors.

"Three years ago, we launched our own value-added pecan brand, which is Barefoot Farm Byron," Ms Jones said.

Using pecans from their own farm and other locally grown pecans, the duo value-add them onsite via their commercial kitchen.

 

VOILA: Ashlee Jones and Matthew James taking their dream to the next level.
VOILA: Ashlee Jones and Matthew James taking their dream to the next level.

 

"We chocolate coat them, we maple roast them, we put them in savoury spices, and so that's been happening … we've been supplying local people over the last three years," Ms Jones said.

"But now with the whole COVID-19 we've pivoted our business to just focus on the pecans and to take the pressure off with running the cafe in an uncertain economy."

The duo agreed they had achieved all their personal and business goals, owing to the support from the Northern Rivers community and their customers.

"That was our goal right at the start, not to chase the tourist trade but to focus on local, focus on the people living next door. It's all been about word-of-mouth," Mr James said.

"You get to know people's families, their allergies and you know their background, and you know so much about them," Ms Jones said.

 

>>> Northern Rivers Business stories

 

Barefoot Farm Byron will continue the fine pecan pie tradition with the pair attending local markets selling their pecan pies along with Ms Jones' raw vegan work treats and delights.

"The goal is to get the pies into local cafes," Mr James said.

Barefoot Farm Byron has been working parallel with the Eltham Valley Pantry for around four years.

"It's just shifting focus," Mr James said.

"It's not even remotely a bad thing, it's more exciting because we can focus more on doing the pecans really, really well and just be known for just dominating pecans."

"We'll be the 'pecan people'," Ms Jones said.


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