Opening Hours Summer 2018

Thornleigh Farm has new opening hours! These are the hours during which we are open for order pickup, and walk-in sales.

Monday: 8am – 9am
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 3.30pm – 4.30pm
Thursday: 8am – 9am
Friday: 8am – 9am
Saturday: 3.30pm – 4.30pm
Sunday: Closed

In setting our new opening hours, we have attempted to balance several competing pressures:

  • Some potential customers have told us that they cannot pick up orders during our current 8am – 9am hours. For example, because they have work each morning.
  • Other customers have indicated that they are happy with our existing hours
  • We need to maintain limited opening hours, because we don’t have the resources to staff a regular retail storefront. Farming is very intense work, requiring our full attention for the majority of each day.

We hope these new hours are a good compromise. Our online store remains open 24 hours, 7 days a week. You can visit to browse and order fresh food at any time.

Gardens in Spring

Winter has truly given way. Chilling mornings are gone, and steady 21 degree days are in. The gardens are feasting on the increased sunlight.

Hoop houses shielding capsicum

Water remains an ongoing challenge. In the absence of drought, Lord Howe Island rainfall does not vary significantly between winter and summer. However, demand from the gardens increases substantially.

Lettuce rows

We face this coming summer with a vastly increased catchment area and storage capacity. We are hopeful that we will be able to maintain garden irrigation through the heat.

Tomato vines in the nursery

The gardens and nursery are currently growing 27 different products, including pumpkins, rhubarb, tomatoes, lettuce, and capsicum.

Looking down from above onto a section of the gardens

Our food is available for order 24/7 at

Lightning Strikes Twice

Earlier this year, lightning knocked out our fancy-pants network. The response? Replace fried parts, increase electrostatic-disharge (ESD) protection. Problem solved? Not quite.

Last week a massive lightning storm hit the island. One strike was so big that everyone on the island thought it had landed outside their house: Every room across the settlement was filled with light.

On the mainland, my phone rang: ‘Hugh, it’s Brenden. She’s dead mate.’

Conduit running through palm forest

Clearly, we needed a new approach. The damage was severe. Our network is shaped like a tree: A trunk runs from our servers, east across the farm, out to Lagoon Beach, then north towards the Far Rocks. Along the way, branches poke out and serve delicious internets to customers.

Both lightning storms had cut the tree at the base of the trunk, where the connection is provided by point-to-point wireless radios. Every branch above the cut dies.

We took the opportunity to upgrade some of our servers. More cooling capacity and more oomph

We decided to go for the nuclear option: Replacing the wireless link with underground optical fibre. Fibre is great: It’s ultra-high bandwidth, immune to ESD, uses almost no power, and doesn’t corrode.

The link between the farm and our boatshed on Lagoon Beach is already fibre. This new link would mean that almost the entire network trunk would be underground fibre.

Dammit Brenden, that’s not where that goes!

Problem: Fibre is expensive and delicate. And unlike between house and boatshed, there was no underground conduit sitting idle ready to be filled with photons.

So we got to digging. And wrangling conduit. And crying a little when the cable tangled. In the end, we did it: The fibre is online and the old wireless link has been relegated to backup duties.

All that work for the tiny fibre in the lower right. Contrast with the (already thin) copper cables at left

Just in time for the summer peak season, our network has received a massive upgrade.