The journey of Fresh Select, a prominent player in the Australian salad and leafy green industry, is marked by resilience and innovation. John Said, Founder and CEO of Fresh Select, sheds light on the challenges and advancements shaping the industry this season.

"This year's growing season has been tough, to say the least, very tough," Said opens up about the current conditions. The challenges brought about by the weather have tested the industry's mettle, yet Fresh Select has navigated these with a focus on quality.

Approximately 5% of Fresh Select's crops are grown undercover, a strategy primarily used for lettuces that are more susceptible to adverse weather conditions. "It just improves the quality of them and gives them protection from the elements," explains Said, highlighting how this method enhances the resilience and quality of their produce.

In line with their commitment to quality, all produce at Fresh Select is packed onsite. This approach ensures that from the moment their crops hit the soil, there's a meticulous Quality Assurance program in place, continuing all the way until the produce reaches the customer.

Discussing market dynamics, Said notes, "Domestic is okay, and overseas is a little bit low at the moment." This statement reflects the fluctuating nature of demand in the industry, both locally and internationally.

Based in Melbourne's Werribee South region, Fresh Select has grown to become one of Australia's largest lettuce and brassica farmers. "We produce vegetables, namely broccoli, baby broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, iceberg, cos lettuce, and hydroponic lettuce, in both open field and protected cropping sites across Australia," says Said, outlining the diversity of their production.

Fresh Select's commitment to sustainability and innovation is evident in their farming practices. They invest heavily in their team, with an internal Quality Assurance Manager who has over 20 years of experience working closely with local and interstate growers. Their people hold qualifications in agricultural science, food technology, SQF, and HACCP.

"We conduct stringent quality checks at all stages of production," Said elaborates. Their quality system tracks produce movement from planting and pre-harvest to loading and delivery, ensuring that only produce that passes each of their checks makes it to consumers.

Fresh Select complies with the highest standards, including SQF (Level 3) and HACCP. Their commitment to minimizing their carbon footprint is reflected in their innovative farming techniques and responsible practices. "We're pioneers of new farming technologies, committed to developing sustainable farming techniques," Said proudly states.

At Fresh Select, the process of growing vegetables goes beyond just planting a seed. It starts with meticulous planning by their onsite agronomist to ensure optimum crop production. "Our supply chain process has been carefully developed with our end products — and company values — in mind," Said adds.

Fresh Select, under John Said's leadership, is not just a producer of salads and leafy greens. It represents a commitment to quality, sustainability, and innovation. Despite the tough growing season, the company continues to excel in producing quality produce, fostering advancements in farming techniques, and adapting to market needs. In an industry marked by its dynamic nature, Fresh Select stands as a testament to what can be achieved through dedication, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality.

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John Said
Fresh Select