Aldo Vumbaca, 66, has been growing flowers for 40 years, and this year won the Sydney Markets’ Flower Grower of the Year award. He attributes his success to his wife Joanne, 58, whom he thinks about every time he plants a crop.
"I met Joanne in 1978, on a flower farm in Kellyville, in Sydney’s north-west, that belonged to a friend of my uncle. I was 26. When we got there, this beautiful young lady came out to greet us. She had long dark hair and olive skin. She was wearing jeans, and she’ll kill me for saying this, but she had a great body. I fell in love the moment I saw her. I said, 'This is the girl for me!'
"I come from a farming background, and she told me how she loved farm life; it was unusual to find a beautiful young woman who was interested in farming. Within 12 months, we were married, at Our Lady of the Rosary in Kellyville.
"Joanne was the one who suggested that we go into flower farming; her dad was a flower grower. We bought five acres in Kellyville, borrowed some money, and started growing. I did all the heavy lifting; she would pick the flowers, bunch them and prepare them for market."