Victorian tastes in vegetables are clearly changing.
Ten years ago, Peter Schreurs was growing leeks, cabbage, broccoli, parsnip and kohl rabi, on the family farm at Devon Meadows, 60km South-East of Melbourne.
Today, the cabbages or broccoli have gone, making way for baby cos lettuce, baby endive, baby wombok and radicchio.
Peter Schreurs believes his baby vegetables have great appeal in smaller households who value the convenient size and attractive, tender leaf quality, with far less waste.
"Our baby products are becoming very popular" says Peter
The Schreurs 160ha property is operated by Peter and sons Darren, Mark and Paul. About 60 staff help plant,
harvest and pack the families range of fresh vegetables for local and export markets.
The last ten years has also seen a change in the way the business manages comASCmon insect pests in their crops.
The Schreurs Integrated Pest Management approach is an example for the future where pest damage is minimised in a natural way by encouraging beneficial insects to control pest numbers .
Peter is disappointed when the fresh produce he is so proud of, is sometimes rejected by supermarket buyers.
"Just one insect on a vegetable
can trigger supermarkets to reject a shipment"
"The only way we can remove every single insect from the crop is to use more chemicals, but these would also destroy the very beneficial insects we are trying to encourage to help control pests in our crops."
Peter Schreurs feels the community would benefit from learning more about the food we eat.
"maybe then people would not be so worried about finding the occasional insect on their raw vegetables ... it could be one of the good guys".
Source: Lyndal Reading, Weekly Times - 29 Jan 10