In This Edition
In this edition of Fresh Perspective we are pleased to introduce you to one of Pershouse's key people, Alwyn Weier, who looks after sweet potatoes and a variety of vegetables for Pershouse Produce.
And, we are delighted to profile another member of Pershouse's grower network, RF & JH Bachmann who grow under the Valley Ace brand. The Bachmann family are another fine example of a family operation that has its finger on the pulse, growing quality product consistently.
And, with increased prices and fresh produce again under the spotlight, we ask the question, 'why don't consumers shop as wisely as they should?' A little bit of a conversation starter we're sure!!
Enjoy your read!

Grower Profile - RF & JH Bachmann, Valley Ace Produce
The association between the Bachmann’s and Pershouse Produce’s Alwyn Weier is one that has stood the test of time. In fact, the Bachmann’s have worked with Alwyn in all facets of his career.
“Alwyn and our family go way back”, said Darren Bachmann, the second generation of the family to be farming the family property at Lower Tent Hill, near Gatton in Queensland.
“We used to send our produce to his store in Armidale, and now we send our produce to Alwyn at Pershouse. We know he always does the right thing by us.”
In fact their association goes back even further than that. Alwyn fondly remembers being picked up from school by Roley Bachmann (Darren’s father), to help the family with their onion and potato crops.
‘I’ve pretty well grown up with the family” adds Alwyn.
The Bachmann’s are one of the Lockyer Valley’s premier growers. On their 70 hectare property, the family grows mainly lettuce; broccoli, butternut pumpkins, onions and potatoes, and they market their produce under the Valley Ace brand. It is a brand that is synonymous with quality.
As a family concern, brother’s Darren and Grantley Bachmann, together with their father, Roley, are responsible for much of the day to day farming operations, and future crop planning. Darren’s wife Colleen takes care of the administration of the farm as well as ‘getting on the tractor’ during the busy times of planting and harvesting.
“At harvest time its all hands on deck. We hire in 10 or 12 contract workers during the busy times, and all the family has to chip in – even the kids. That’s just how family businesses work, we all pull together when we need to. No demarcation disputes allowed.”
Over the next few weeks, the family will be starting to harvest broccoli and lettuce and are hoping for a good season.
“The cost to produce good quality vegetables is soaring and it is something that we keep a close eye on. Unlike the other end of the food chain, we can’t pass our costs onto anyone, so we need to keep them manageable, but still not compromise on achieving a quality product at the end.” said Darren.
As predominantly seasonal growers, the Bachmann’s have escaped some of the issues experienced by other growers in Queensland. However, where too much water was an issue for many Queensland growers, the Bachmann’s property, and much of the surrounding area, missed out on the summer rain.
“Water is still a big issue for us. The creek that runs through our property got plenty of rain further up, but it just hasn’t made its way down to us yet. We are drawing water from a bore at the moment. So, we are still hoping for some more rain.” said Darren.
And with autumn taking hold and the rain season starts coming to an end, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you Darren.

Staff Profile - Alwyn Weier
If ever there was an expert on all facets of the produce chain, it is Pershouse’s Alwyn Weier. Al is a true produce professional having been a grower, retailer and wholesaler.
Today, Alwyn looks after a range of vegetables and sweet potatoes for Pershouse Produce.
“I was born and bred in the Lockyer Valley” said Alwyn.
“I farmed onions, potatoes and pumpkins for around 8 years before moving into a secondary wholesale business, supplying produce to retail outlets. I used to deliver to outlets right up to Rockhampton.”
“Then I moved to Armidale, NSW, to run a retail fruit and vegetable shop for a few years. The owner of the store sold up and so I moved back into supplying retail outlets in Queensland. But it’s funny how things turn out….the new owner of the Armidale fruit shop went broke after 8 months and so I had the opportunity to get back into retailing. I ended up staying with that shop for around 20 years, and after rebuilding the business from scratch, I sold the business with 25 staff! It was really successful.”
“But I always had an affinity with the Brisbane Markets. Even from Armidale I used to travel to Brisbane to buy 3 times a week. I love the vibrancy and the fact that it is ever-changing – no two days are the same.” adds Alwyn.
“So when I came back to Brisbane, I originally partnered with David Pershouse when he first started wholesaling as Pershouse And Growers with Virgil Bambrick. When the two businesses (A.S Barr and Pershouse) joined forces I decided to sell my share of Pershouse and join the new company in a sales capacity.”
“I think that I have a good understanding of everything the growers and retailers are up against, which works well. We can talk the same language. I like the selling side of the business.”
Alwyn is happily married and has two boys. Kyle works in the Markets with Pershouse, while Alwyn’s other son still lives in Armidale.
“I enjoy the Markets, and I think I have found the right balance. I commute everyday from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane – home is 2 minutes from the golf course, the water and the pub! It doesn’t get much better.”

Increased Fruit and Vegetable Prices – Consumers Need to Wise Up Too.
Things are getting a bit tight for many of us lately. In fact, ‘lately’ is probably an understatement. I know I have been noticing my food bill rising slowly over the last few years. At the checkout, I have been known to shout like a Lotto winner when I have somehow walked out spending less than $200 (I have 3 kids so this is a real achievement). However, like Lotto, this state of delirium is rare. And often short lived, as the supermarket trip is usually followed by a trip to the petrol station!
So to deal with this, I have decided that now is the time to educate my kids on the importance of a fresh and simple diet. We eat a little more like the nutritionists say we should i.e more seasonal fresh foods and complex carbohydrates. We buy less processed foods (we do still have treats…mummy still needs her chocolate!) and I look for foods lower on the GI scale - my growing boys are bottomless pits. It sounds far more complex than it is, but I have found it to be a good way to keep the food bill under control. Fresh is best is our motto!
So it always interests and infuriates me when the humble fruit and vegetable cops the brunt of public scrutiny over grocery prices. And what’s worse, to add to the sensationalist claims made by well meaning journalists, it is always the price of out-of-season produce, or produce hit by a bad growing season that is often quoted in these articles - just to increase the shock value.
A case in point would be cauliflowers. Now, those of us in the industry know that it has been a difficult season for our summer cauliflower growers. Trying to grow a traditional ‘winter’ crop in summer is always a challenge – even growing the ‘summer" varieties. But this year the heat, and then the rain, has meant that the 'summer' varieties haven’t been coping so well either. The upshot of this is less quality produce available on the market, therefore pushing prices up - supply and demand in action. So, of course, cauliflowers are going to be expensive – around $8.00 each if you believe The Sunday Mail (March 16, 2008).
And so of course, the $8.00 cauliflower was the example to highlight that most fresh fruit and vegetables are getting too expensive. At least the shopper interviewed for The Sunday Mail article was ‘introducing more frozen vegetables’ into the family diet as a replacement for the fresh stuff. The importance of fruit and vegetables in the family diet had not been compromised.
Now frozen vegetables have their place don’t get me wrong. But surely buying delicious fresh produce that is in season and therefore also in plentiful supply and usually cheaper, is the obvious alternative to the tasteless frozen varieties?
I know that working in this industry probably gives me a bit more knowledge as to what produce is in season, but I do look around at my local fruit shop and check out what looks good and is reasonably priced. If an item is too expensive, I change what produce is on the menu for the week. If I want something that is out of season and it is available, I expect to pay more for it. That’s life.
It just seems to me that there is an expectation by many consumers that fresh produce should always be cheap and every variety should be available all year round. And while our growers are amongst the best in the world, and can grow almost anything anytime, the average consumer seems to take for granted that it is fresh food and vulnerable to so many factors. These factors (including weather, transport costs, seasonal issues, quality etc) all go into the mix to determine price at market level. Then of course the retailer has their costs to add on and the end result is what you see in the shop.
The reality is that everyone along this supply chain has a right to make a dollar. The equity of this split is currently being scrutinized by the ACCC, but don’t be fooled into thinking that prices will instantly revert back to ancient days after their investigation. Fuel is a good case in point.
So what is my point exactly? It is this.
As consumers need to wise up and learn how to shop better for fresh food, store it correctly and cook it in a variety of ways.
Unless we grow our own, fruit and vegetables are not ‘free’and they cost money to grow. Growers have to contend with rising costs too and also have families to feed.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important staple in a healthy diet, and enjoying a wide variety will assist us achieve optimum health. Also, by enjoying a varied diet of produce it means that as a consumer, we have more choice in terms of providing cost effective meals to feed our families.
Seasonal produce is generally cheaper (but I concede not always so) and actually tastes better. We need to learn what is in, and out, of season and how to cook it. There is so much information available to help us. Look for the Fresh Tastes leaflets in your local green grocer and have a look at the information provided as part of the ‘Go for 2 & 5’ campaign (
And like anything else shop around. The average family would spend around $2500 a year on fresh produce and so it does deserve some thought. Buy the freshest you can (it will last longer if stored properly), and find a store that suits your needs. For some this will be Woolworths or Coles and for others it will be a local store.
Like most things, knowledge is power as is flexibility.
Oh…and here’s a final tip…a great salad during the warmer months with a few different types of seasonal salad vegetables will cost you less than one $8.00 cauliflower…and you’ll probably get a few extra meals out of it too!

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

Click Here to Unsubscribe
web design brisbane by