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AU: Broccolini growth static at peak time of year
A Western Australian vegetable grower says while the recent growth of the broccolini has been static, it has enjoyed double digit growth over the past decade.
Capel Farms produces Broccolini® baby broccoli, which is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. In Australia, Perfection Fresh hold the rights to the product, after developing the hybrid vegetable, which was introduced into the market in the early 2000s - and growers have to pay a fee to produce it. But Co-owner Greg Norton says this arrangement does have its benefits.
"We grow for Perfection Fresh and through their marketing it has increased sales," he said. "Also it is a very tasty product and some of the chef TV shows have helped. However, broccolini is currently static with no much growth at the moment."
The vegetable combines an asparagus-like stem with tiny buds reminiscent of a mini broccoli head, and is grown all year round at the farm, but like most produce this year has had some trouble with the warm summer conditions.
"Production has been pretty good, we do have a few problems at the peak heat of the year with heat stress but it grows quicker," Mr Norton said. "This part of the year is generally the peak demand time with mid-winter being lowest."
Mr Norton says Capel Farms is situated about four kilometres from the coast, and has about 170 hectares of irrigation for its vegetable range.
"We grow broccolini which is 60 per cent of production, loose leaf spinach, 35 per cent, as well as kale, grape nursery and some avocados make up the rest," he said. We pack broccolini on site but all other products go off site at harvest. We have our own accommodation for about 42 people. We supply broccolini to the whole WA market, so Coles, Woolworths, IGA and others. Spinach goes to Perth, Brisbane and sometimes other states."
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