Somerville vegetable grower Darren Pivato grew his first crop of the dark green, leafy vegetable in 2008, and this year is hand-cutting bunches just twelve weeks after planting.
"It's always a challenge to get something new on the shelves and make it popular," said Darren.
"It's so versatile, you can do almost anything with it. Unlike spinach or silverbeet, it holds its volume and doesn't reduce as much when you cook it.
Being a dark green, leafy vegie, it's also packed with antioxidants, so it's great for you."
While gradually expanding the area under crop, Darren said he was proud to maintain the farm as a family business in the heart of the Victoria's fertile Mornington Peninsula." We like to oversee the running of it so we know what's going on," said Darren.
Over the past 20 years, M&G Pivato have shifted away from zucchini and cucumbers towards field production of dutch carrots, leeks, broccolini, celeriac and a variety of herbs including parsley, continental parsley, coriander and dill.
"We're more focused on doing things well. We're known for quality, doing a pretty good dutch carrot.
"We much prefer that to saying 'Look how many semi (trailers) we've sent off today'. We're at a good size, we have a reasonable volume and we can still keep things under control so they're done correctly."
Sources: Sandra Godwin - Weekly Times, 5Aug 2011
Perfection Fresh - Growers, Darren Pivato