Winning farmer's tale of success, NSW Farmer of the Year

TURN A NEW LEAF: Tailor Made Fish Farms owner Nick Arena with some of the lettuces he grows using water from the fish farm. The lettuce is used in his restaurant.
TURN A NEW LEAF: Tailor Made Fish Farms owner Nick Arena with some of the lettuces he grows using water from the fish farm. The lettuce is used in his restaurant.

Tailor Made Fish Farms is a barramundi, hydroponics farm and restaurant all in one.

“The barramundi is both live and freshly chilled and we produce 1000 kilos of fish each week ” owner Nick Arena said.

He has operated the aquaponic hydroponic farm for 18 years.

In that time, Mr Arena has developed an easy to operate, land-based modular fish production system that is both sustainable and environmentally responsible.

“Production of year-round premium quality fish and vegetables is achieved through compact and controlled production areas using much less water than conventional methods,” Mr Arena said.

Water from the fish farm is also used elsewhere on the farm to sustain the crops. 

“Producing a kilo of tomatoes in an aquaponic system will use 18 litres of water but growing a kilo in soil will require 120 litres of water making aquaponics far more efficient and environmentally friendly.” Mr Arena said.

He also owns a restaurant on the property, the Cookabarra restaurant and function centre. 

The name is a fun play on the idea of cooking your own barramundi fresh from the fish farm.

Cookabarra restaurant and function centre is open for lunch and provides tours of the barramundi farm seven days a week. 

Cookabarra is modern Australian and Mediterranean cuisine with a twist.

The restaurant is attached to the barramundi and hydroponic vegetable farm growing fresh produce on site, bringing the paddock to your plate.

Tours run daily twice daily on the farm from 11am and 2pm. The tour of the barramundi and hydroponics production facilities takes an hour and is fun and informative for all ages.

Nick has hopes the business will be able to further expand and continue to be able to meet with the ever increasing and high demand for food. 

After 18 years Nick has plans to sell and be able to pass the business on to someone who can take it to the next level for it’s current shareholders. The future of the fish farm is about expansion and growth.

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