Chris Murphy is best known for helping steer INXS to international success - but he had a much less publicised project he was just as passionate about.
The longtime manager of INXS, who passed away in January this year after a short battle with mantle cell lymphoma, spent years on a quest to develop the perfect free range egg.
Back in 2014 he started a free range egg farm and breeding operation, Rock Chic Eggs, on his property at Richmond in the Hawkesbury Valley. A few years later it had grown to a 5000-bird business supplying eggs to some of Sydney's top restaurants. Eggs from the farm also went to international cosmetics brand, LUSH, for an egg based shampoo.
When things got busy with his music career again, Rock Chic Eggs had to take a hiatus, but last year's COVID lockdown inspired Chris and the family to give the business a reboot.
Rock Chic Eggs Version Two found its home at Murphy's 60 acre South Ballina property, Sugar Beach Ranch, where the family horse breeding and training operation is also based.
His daughter Stevey says her father 'spent hours planning and researching genetics' as they re-established the free-range flock among the sand dunes and natural vegetation at the property. Their specially bred chickens lay 'rainbow' eggs in blue, green and even pink.
Chris sadly passed away just as Rock Chic Eggs was getting back up and running, but the family has decided to keep his legacy alive by continuing the business: "It was dad's passion," says Stevey.
Rock Chic Eggs currently supplies fresh free range eggs to Old Quarter Coffee Merchants in Ballina, Treehouse at Belongil, and Eclair at the Bay. His son Louis, daughter Stevey, wife Caroline and their two Maremma dogs all play a part in running Rock Chic eggs, ensuring the chickens are safe, happy and well fed. There's even music in the henhouse.
Next weekend, they'll open Sugar Beach Ranch to the public as part of the Northern Rivers Food Harvest Food Trail, a self-drive weekend that will showcase more than 20 local farms, producers, distilleries, restaurants and manufacturers.
Visitors will also be able to see first hand how their chickens 'seriously free range' and collect a few eggs of their own.
And in true Rock Chic style, DJ tunes will be provided, with a big grassed area on the dunes where people are welcome to throw out a picnic rug, enjoy a drink and sample a Rock Chic Prosciutto and Truffle Egg pastry.
- Rock Chic Eggs @ Sugar Beach Ranch will open May 1 & 2 from 12-3pm. Download the full Harvest Food Trail map at the Northern Rivers Food website