In This edition
In this edition of Fresh Perspective we take a look at the vegetable season and how the wild Queensland weather is affecting produce.

We are also taking a look at the apple season, as well as getting to know Pershouse's apple expert, Chris Georgiou.

And, we are taking a little look into the very large IPG in Bundaberg. A very impressive operation I'm sure you'll agree.

We are also very excited to share with you our new pride and joys - the new fleet of Toyota forklifts. They look terrific.

Have a great day and enjoy your read!

Forklift Fleet Upgrade Drives Handling Cost Efficiency
Pershouse Produce recently undertook an upgrade of our forklift fleet to ensure our product handling was as cost efficient and operationally efficient and safe as possible.

“Produce handling is a critical part of what we do. We need to do it quickly, but we also need to do it carefully and cost effectively.” said Pershouse Produce Joint Managing Director, David Pershouse.

So last month, Pershouse Produce took delivery of 12 new 8 Series Toyota forklifts.

“These really are the best available. Pershouse has always had a great relationship with Toyota and we have used their forklifts for many years, and so for us, there is no alternative” said David.

"And even more importantly, the price was right. An even better machine that cost the company no more than the older ones."

Dave Peterson, Toyota Area Manager Sales and Rentals, agrees.

“Toyota Material Handling, formerly Willtrac Toyota, is a proud long term business partner of Pershouse and are delighted to continue this relationship with the delivery of 12 new 8 series Toyota forklifts.” said Dave.

“The 8 Series replaces the 7 Series and has even more market leading features in the areas of safety, reliability and operator comfort. Toyota aims to ensure that our forklifts deliver the most efficient and productive forklift operation and safety.”

But not only are the features great, they look pretty good too with an eye catching, customised paint job.

“We decided to paint the forklifts with our logo and colour scheme to market the Pershouse Produce brand. The company now has 12 mobile billboards - everyone is talking about them” said David Pershouse.

“You need to get your name out there whenever you can and this was such an obvious opportunity.”

Grower Profile - IPG and Barbera Farms
Starting as a family farm over 30 years ago, the Integrated Produce Group (better known as IPG) is a fine example of strategic thinking in action.

Like all good ideas, the concept is simple. IPG was developed by Guy Barbera, who along with his family owns Barbera Farms in Bundaberg. Already prolific growers in their own right, the Barbera’s saw an opportunity to develop a company that could supply produce all year round, using their superior marketing and packing expertise to sell other local growers produce. This meant that they were able to smooth out the typical seasonal peaks and troughs that affect all growers by having extended seasons, capitalising on different growing regions.

“We already had a great relationship with many of Bundy’s growers and IPG has been built on these relationships. Everyone has benefited.” said Sal Turrisi, Business Manager for IPG Australia.

Since its inception, IPG has developed into a real force in the vegetable growing industry, with state-of-the-art packing sheds and processes.

The Barbera’s built their business on capsicums and today, including the product they market through IPG, the Barbera’s are one of the biggest suppliers of capsicums in Australia.

In addition to capsicums, zucchini are a major crop for IPG who supply Bundaberg product from March through to December, making them one of the largest volume suppliers in Australia.

Recently, IPG have expanded into the tomato market and in the last four years have purchased Steindhart Farms and also took over the quota grown by Fulcher Farms. Together with the purchase of a property in Bowen, this means that the Barbera’s can supply tomatoes from March until January.

“We aim to supply the best out of these regions. Bundaberg and Bowen are two of the biggest growing areas in Australia. We are experienced at remotely managing farms and will continue to look for new opportunities to grow.”

'Bonza' Apple Season
The Stanthorpe apple season is well and truly underway with some of the best quality apples ‘seen in years’ arriving at the markets.

Plenty of rain and much cooler temperatures have resulted in delicious, crisp and juicy fruit being produced.

“This season our apple growers have been fortunate to have near perfect growing conditions.” said Chris Georgiou, Pershouse Produce’s Apple Sales Manager.

“Without doubt, this is one of the best seasons in a long time. The colour of the fruit is deep and the apples taste as good as they look.”

And there is plenty of fruit, with yields up too.

“There weren’t any hailstorms this year, so we are fortunate to have fantastic quality in plentiful supply.” Said Chris

To begin the Stanthorpe season, Royal Galas can now be found on the market to be followed by Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady™ in the very near future. The region, which produces most of Queensland’s apples, is very excited about this year’s crop.

“For the apple lover, this is going to be a glorious Stanthorpe season”

Staff Profile - Chris Georgiou
Chris Georgiou knows all there is to know about apples. He can tell you all about the red ones and the green ones; the nicest ones for eating, and your best ones for cooking. But ask him what his passion is?

“Fishing. I love fishing.” Chris will tell you.

“In the Markets you either play golf, or you fish and I love my fishing – anywhere, anytime.”

And over his many years at the markets Chris has certainly made a few fishing buddies, who all happily swap their tales on a Monday morning.

“I’ve made so many friends here. I know it is a common theme, but this is such a unique place to work and you do make lifelong friends at the markets.

Chris, who is married with three children, was working in the plumbing industry before starting at the markets some 20 years ago.

Chris first started with C.O.D as a labourer before he was moved into apple sales.

“They saw my potential early on.” Chris jokes.

After three years with C.O.D, Chris went to A.S. Barr and now is with Pershouse Produce after the companies joined forces two years ago.

“I have been really fortunate to enjoy what I do. I have expanded my produce range to cover not only apples, but also pears, mangoes and all the exotic varieties. Graeme (Meagher) and I work really well together and we have successfully managed a fairly big produce portfolio for a while now.”

Chris also likes to get out and see his growers and tries to get out to Stanthorpe a few times a year to assess the upcoming apple season and make sure everything is going smoothly.

“It’s important to know what is coming up, and also keep the growers well informed as to what is happening at market level. This season, for instance, is one of the best we have had for a while, and there is a lot of product. Managing the flow of this product into the chain is important.” Said Chris.

All we would need is a new apple variety called ‘barramundi’ and life would be just about perfect wouldn’t it Chris?

Summer Vegetable Season Review
The rain in Queensland and the impact the monsoonal weather pattern is having on most areas of primary production, is the talk of the town.

Lately, however, the conversation has turned toward the costs of the flooding and the flow-on impact into the supermarkets. With most of Queensland’s primary production areas rain and flood affected, consumers are being warned to expect sharp price rises in fruit, vegetables and meat.

So, I asked Pershouse’s resident vegetable expert, Dario Vescovi, what impact he has noticed in terms of vegetable trading.

“Look, the weather extremes have had an impact there is no doubt” said Dario.

“On one hand, retailers are telling me their trade is down between 10 and 20% on usual summer trading figures. They blame the rain and cooler weather for this”

“In terms, of what we are seeing at market level, trade has certainly been slower than normal, but the quantities of vegetables are at normal levels. The quality of the produce is the issue”

“The rain has caused a big drop in the quality of Queensland produce. The summer varieties we plant up here can’t handle the current growing conditions. They just don’t like this much rain.” Said Dario.

A number of lines have been particularly affected.

“We can’t get cauliflowers anywhere. Beans hate the rain and they are all marked. Capsicums also hate rain – the constant wet weather means that they start to collapse earlier.”

“Many growers just aren’t even cutting anymore.”

But quantities of Queensland produce may start to slow if there is no break in the weather. Already there is talk that in Bowen, growers can’t even plant as the fields are just too wet, and this may start to have an impact on quantities.

“We have already seen this with a number of lines. Sweet potatoes are a good example. They haven’t been able to pick sweet potatoes for a while in Central and North Queensland.” said Dario

“A lot will depend on the southern season picking up as the weather cools as they have had a particularly hot summer – and hopefully, the weather will start to get into a more even pattern in Queensland. It is just too unpredictable for growers at the moment.”

Here is a list of just some of the produce available right now* at Pershouse Produce

Broad beans
Brussel Sprouts
Butter Beans

Honeydew Melon
Kipfler Potatoes

Okra Beans

Spring Onions
Sth Gold Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

*subject to supply conditions.

If you have a story or article that you think would make a great addition to Fresh Perspective contact;

Laura Koman
Ph: 07 3379 3034

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