10 Hathfelde Boulevard, Mernda
The Mint Inc finished works at Carome Homestated in 2011 and it is now open to the public as the produce based and French and Spanish inspired restaurant “Two Beans and a Farm”. Carome has had a long and varied history. It was once the site of one of Melbourne’s early flour mills until the Yan Yean Reservoir, built to provide clean drinking water for the growing township of Melbourne, cut the flow of water to the Plenty River. The region then moved to mixed farming. Later the site was a flourishing dairy and more recently it was used for training trotting horses and as a horse stud.
The current bluestone house built in 1864 had been empty for some years and was in a state of disrepair when acquired by Mint Inc and had no services connected. Mint Inc has now completed the process of connecting water, power, gas and other services and has fully restoring the homestead for use as a café/wine bar/ restaurant. The new facility, called TWO BEANS AND A FARM, will open on 14 November 2011 and be open Tuesday to Friday 9am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5 pm. Phone 03 9717 0978 for bookings if required
The gardens have been re-instated and the fencing repaired. A new access road has replaced the old farm track no longer accessible due to the nearby Riverdale Estate layout. One major work has been the restoration of the plaster walls which were badly cracked and the installation of a full commercial kitchen and public facilities.
The shedding across the farm is typical and represented all phases of use from the 1940s dairy to the more modern lunge yards using to train trotters. The marks of original trotting track can still be seen and the paddocks are fenced for horse use. All old wire netting fences have been removed to allow for free access for the native wildlife but the sturdy rails and posts pose no threat and have merely been restored and, in some cases, lowered. Some sheds have suffered wind damage during the recent bad weather and have needed to be either demolished if irreparable or made safe. Others have been left in their original condition although not open for public access.
The Mint Inc has established a community garden in one part of the site which has wonderful loamy soil. With all the sheds hooked up to collect rainwater into the nearby tanks we have no shortage of water for people to use on their vegetables. Beds are available to rent by the year and all tools and equipment is provided. There is also a community library with a good selection of gardening books and a small kitchen for people working on their plots.
It is our hope that our neighbours in the nearby estate will fully utilize the orchard of fruit trees which has just been planted as well as the planned vegetable gardens and the new local school will avail themselves of the opportunity to develop their own kitchen garden once the school is opened. The new car park caters for those visiting the community garden as well as those booked into a special event in the Homestead.
Many of the people who once lived in the Homestead have been back to visit and are pleased to see the house and gardens now being well maintained and used once again. Evidently the house was once used simply to store hay for the horses and suffered a great deal of damage over the years. After the complete restoration it is now a well used facility and an asset to the Parklands area.