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CEO Update – Meet our Grower Justin Vanstone

March 12, 2021

Broccolini® is one of my favourite vegetables – did you know we introduced it to Australia just on 22 years ago?

I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to one of our growers, Justin Vanstone.

Justin is a 4th generation farmer in Queensland and along with his family, runs Vanstone Produce. He’s been growing Broccolini® for us for the past four years.

Justin Vanstone

Why grow Broccolini®?

We knew Broccolini® would rotate very well with our other bunching lines – spring onions and silverbeet. Our first season of growing Broccolini® was in 2017.

The other reason we became a grower for Perfection Fresh is that contract growing is attractive – we’re growing, we’re trying to expand, and so it’s suited us to grow something like Broccolini®.

What’s it like to grow Broccolini®?

Broccolini® is a bit of a diva, it needs some love at the end of growing to get the most out of the plant, and to get the best quality. Broccolini® is a very intense crop in terms of labour, everything from harvest onwards is done by hand.

Broccolini® is robust – it can be grown from the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland right down to Tasmania.

The last part of its growth is the most critical bit where a lot goes into it – this starts from the minute we start picking. We are just getting ready to start harvesting Broccolini®.

How do you know when they’re ready to harvest?

We pick Broccolini® multiple times to the optimal spec – nice tall slender dark green stems is what we want, so once it’s mature, the harvest window is fairly broad. We pick it twice a week.

In terms of the seasons, the cooler the better. Peak season is winter in Queensland. A winter’s day picking is from 6am to 2pm.

The fringe of our optimal season is what requires the most care from us – we aim to get Broccolini® into refrigeration within 20 minutes of harvest. From harvest we don’t break the cold chain all the way into the supermarket, to ensure Broccolini® is in optimal condition for customers.

Favourite way to eat Broccolini®

I love covering my Broccolini® with butter and eating it with steak!

Broccolini® Katzu Beef

 

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CEO Update – Meet our Grower Justin Vanstone

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