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‘Now in Season’ heads to Taiwan

Queensland vegetables take centre stage in 10-day promotional programme

Queensland-grown broccoli, cauliflower and onions are among the fresh products being showcased in Taiwan this week as part of the ‘Now in Season’ campaign.

The 10-day promotion is being run through several CitySuper stores, with the centrepiece of the campaign being an exhibition event tomorrow (14 June).

“This will include a range of in-store promotions, tastings and other networking activities designed to build the presence of Queensland fresh produce,” said Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) senior industry development officer, Justin Heaven.

“The produce that will be showcased includes broccoli, cauliflower, onions, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, baby leaf products and fresh juice. Producers will also to meet with importers, distributers and retail partners to discuss exporting opportunities.”

Taiwan has been highlighted as a potential growth market for Queensland's vegetable trade, with the value of overall fresh produce imports into Taiwan reaching A$295m (US$223m) in 2016, up from A$135,586,000 (US$103m) in 2015. Having said this, Heaven explained it was important for potential exporters to do their due diligence.

“The Taiwan market does have strict import protocols and regulatory requirements in place, so producers considering trading with Taiwan should investigate the market requirements thoroughly,” he said.

The ‘Now In Season’ campaign is a multi-industry promotional programme designed to raise awareness of the advantages of quality, safe and healthy Australian horticulture products.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit Author: Matthew Jones

Image: Pixabay_congerdesign

 

Slow start to asparagus harvest welcomed by growers managing demand

Australia's largest asparagus growers say spring rainfall has helped slow the harvest and manage supply.

More than 90 per cent of Australian asparagus is grown in Koo Wee Rup, 70 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, and in Mildura in north-western Victoria.

Harvest traditionally begins in August in the north-west and the beginning of September in Koo Wee Rup but southern growers say wet spring weather has tempered the beginning of harvest.

Growers running at 30 per cent of capacity

Australia's largest asparagus grower Joe Vizzarri said the slow start to the season had been welcome news for the industry.

Mr Vizzarri manages a packing house, export and marketing business and several farms in the Koo Wee Rup area.

He said he and neighbouring growers were currently running at approximately 30 per cent of capacity.

"Fortunately, the rain has helped us because our export markets really aren't ready for us until at least October," Mr Vizzarri said.

"So the rain and the slow production has actually been very good for us."

Mr Vizzarri said the spring rain had not affected quality.

"Well look, even though the weather's been pretty ugly, cold and wet etcetera, we're pretty on par with last year's production and it's about to take off in a big way," he said.

Asparagus a difficult crop to manage

James Terry is a Koo Wee Rup asparagus grower and manages export for packing and distribution business Momack Produce.

Mr Terry said the industry was grateful for a steady start to harvest because asparagus could be a very difficult and labour-intensive crop to manage.

Asparagus can grow up to one centimetre per hour, which means growers must be vigilant throughout the season.

"Once we get days of 20 degrees or above, we will be harvesting every day," Mr Terry said.

"It's one of the problems with asparagus production; you can't control its growth speed or rate and it's also highly perishable so you can't store it at all."

Mr Terry said the wet, cool spring conditions allowed better management of supply into domestic and export markets.

He said growers had been forced to deal with a "sudden influx of product" in recent years during harvest, which had created marketing difficulties.

"At this stage we're going along fairly nicely," he said.

Vic Country Hour By Bridget Fitzgerald

Photo: Asparagus harvest begins in Koo Wee Rup, Australia's largest producing asparagus region. (ABC Rural: Bridget Fitzgerald)

 

 

Japanese sweet potato varieties in demand in China

"Every year, Hainan sweet potatoes are planted in August. The crop is ready for harvest around the Spring Festival, which is considerably earlier than sweet potatoes from Northern China. The supply generally last until the middle of June. Our early availability is giving us a competitive advantage compared to other production regions," explains Mr. Wu Fengyao from the Dongfang Fengzaibao Sweet Potato Farmers Cooperative.

"The cold weather that occurred earlier this year affected the growth of sweet potatoes across China. Hainan, fortunately, has been less impacted by this weather. Our output has decreased 10-20% compared with last year. Currently, our sweet potato season nearing its ends. Our sales have almost doubled and our market reach grew."

"The cooperative was founded in 2009. We have registered our  brand under the name Gandi Yuan. We grow sweet potatoes on 65 hectares. We will add an additional 35 hectares this summer. Half of these bases will be used for planting Qingxiang sweet potatoes, a Chinese variety, and the other half will be used for Japanese sweet potatoes."

"The main variety we grow is the Japanese sweet potato. We purchased a small volume of seedlings from a Japanese company located in Hainan province. In addition, we purchased large amounts of Chinese sweet potatoes seeds from two local scientific research institutions. Compared with Chinese sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes are sweeter and tastier."

"At this stage, our sweet potatoes are mainly sold through the traditional way of selling to domestic cities, such as Shanghai city, Jiangsu and Zhejiang province. We use a combination of organic manure and organic fertilizers. This year we plan to build our own packaging factory. We have no in-house transportation services and we cooperate with external logistics companies. "

Wu Fengyao
Dongfang City FengZai Bao Sweet Potato Farmer Cooperatives 
Tel: +86 13807660393
E-mail: 1029432693@qq.com

Source article: http://www.freshplaza.com

Date published: 10 June 

Australian Costa Group: +26% profit

The long, cold spring in Morocco and the disappointing soft fruit harvest in Tasmania and Atherton Tableland weren't enough to depress the results of the Costa Group. The Australian multinational noted a net profit which was 26.3% higher than last year.


The turnover over the financial year rose by 10.2% and reached 1 billion Australian dollars. The remaining profit was 76.7 million Australian dollars. The company is active in various segments and has cultivation locations in Australia, Morocco and China.

Morocco had a long and cold spring this year, which meant the season started eight weeks late. The harvest concentrated towards the end of the season. As a result of this, the contribution of African Blue, part of the Costa Group, was below expectations.

The soft fruit harvest in both Tasmania and Atherton Tableland was disappointing, which limited the advantages of the off season prices. Within the soft fruit category the company is expanding with cultivations in Morocco, China and Australia. The citrus on the other hand presented well, with an excellent start to 2018. Of the 300 hectares in Riverland, 201 hectares were planted in June, of which 157 hectares citrus and 44 hectares avocado.

Tomatoes and mushrooms performed well with results above expectations.
There was an investment in Monarta farm, a cultivation company of mushrooms, among others. This expansion is on schedule. An investment in 10 hectares of greenhouses for snacking tomatoes has been announced for tomatoes. The greenhouse is to come into production from May 2020. Besides this there was investment in the nursery capacity and the packaging facilities within the group.

Costa Group is investing in the avocado cultivation as a fifth pillar of the company. In the last 18 months 6 companies were taken over, including Koci Farm (FNQ).

 

Publication date: 8/29/2018

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Beans

History

Beans originated in Central America.

What are they

Beans belong to the pea (Fabaceae) family. They require warm temperatures for growth and yields. The immature pods are eaten as a fresh vegetable.  Two types of fresh beans are grown, with production divided between the climbing or runner bean and the dwarf bean, which has a number of names, such as French, bush, snap or stringless beans.

How are they grown

Optimum air temperatures for good yields and quality are 16°C to 30°C. A frost-free period of 120 days is required. Where temperatures exceed 35°C, pollination of flowers may be poor and beans may be short, flat and curled with many second grade and reject beans.

Where are they grown

All Australian states.

Variety

French and Runner.

How to know when they are ripe

Harvesting occurs about two weeks after flowering. First picking occurs 7 to 11 weeks are planting, depending upon season.

Pick beans when they are over 15cm in length, with half-sized seeds. Younger beans wilt rapidly. Best quality beans are straight with smooth pods.

Dwarf beans are picked two to five times over 7 to 15 days, when the beans are 10 to 13cm long, depending on variety.

Baby beans can be picked for gourmet markets. These are less than 10cm long.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Beans should be planted in a sheltered area. Winds damage leaves and destroy flowers, and pods are deformed when they rub against supports, leaves and stems.

Temperatures below 10°C during flowering and pod setting may result in curling and russetting of pods.

Local market

Fresh and processed.

Storage

Store beans at 4.5 to 6.0°C at 90 to 95% relative humidity for one to three weeks. Bacterial soft rot and Sclerotinia may appear in the middle of packages if beans are packed when wet.

Nutrition

They contain good levels of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Packaging

Cool beans to 4.5 to 6.0°C immediately after harvesting. Grade beans during picking. Pack into 22L or 36L plastic crates or 10kg cartons.

For good presentation and extra life, dwarf beans and baby beans may be packed into 300g punnets and covered with clear plastic, with 12 punnets stacked on a tray.

Do not market over-mature, small, misshapen or blemished beans. Reject beans may amount to a quarter of the crop.

 

Information from:

 Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/beans/growing-fresh-runner-and-dwarf-beans-western-australia (January 2016)

 

Capsicum

History

The Capsicum species originated in South and Central America, and Christopher Columbus brought it back to Europe when he returned from the Americas. Records show that capsicum has been used in cooking since 6000 BC. In Australia, capsicum became popular thanks to European and Asian immigrants who use it extensively.

What are they

They belong to the Solanaceae family along with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. They are often referred to as ‘peppers’ and come in a variety of colours, flavours and sizes. They are commonly used in stir fries and salads and can be stuffed or grilled and marinated in garlic and olive oil.

How are they grown

Capsicums thrive in warm conditions and are particularly sensitive to cold and do not grow below 10ºC. They grow best in deep well drained, medium textured soils, but will not tolerate saline water.

Where are they grown

Capsicums are grown in most vegetable regions in Australia that have a temperature range of approximately 15ºC to 32ºC.

Variety

Varieties have a primary mature colour that is usually green, but may be yellow or purple. They also have a secondary mature colour that is usually red, but may be orange or yellow or other colours.

How to know when they are ripe

Capsicums can be picked green at the mature primary stage. This is when they are firm, have thick walls and are dark green. If picked too early, they have thinner walls and are inclined to wilt.

Capsicums usually begin flowering 1-2 months after planting and will take up to around 110 days from planting to first harvest which then continue until cold weather reduces yield or frost stops growth.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Capsicum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Capsicums can be damaged by frost. Plants affected by cool weather tend to harden and seldom regain the vigorous growth necessary for high yields. During cold weather, the fruit remains small, hard and malformed because of uneven pollination. The fruit may also have numerous growth cracks.

Fruit may be sun-scorched during hot weather and will show poor setting and poor colouring when temperatures are above 33°C.

Rain and high humidity can increase diseases.

Local market

Fresh consumption with a small amount being  processed.

Storage

Capsicums should not be stored for long periods, or with fruit such as tomatoes that produce ethylene as the gas reduces storage life. Storage conditions should be 7-13 ͦ C at 90-95% relative humidity for a maximum of two to three weeks.

Nutrition

Capsicums are an excellent source of vitamin A and C (red contain more than green capsicums). They are also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin E, B6 and folate. The sweetness of capsicums is due to their natural sugars (green capsicums have less sugar than red capsicums).

Packaging

Capsicums are usually packed on their sides in 6 kg and 12 kg cartons or plastic returnable containers. If being sent directly to a supermarket the standard black supermarket crate is used.

Machines are available that will wash, brush and grade capsicums for size. The fruit also need to be visually graded for colour, so the package contains fruit only of one colour.

Other uses- dried pickled etc

Capsicum can be used to produce the spice paprika. Red capsicums are dried with forced-air heaters and ground to a fine powder.

Medical or natural medicine use

Capsicums are used as a herbal medicine to treat poor circulation, fever and colds, and digestive disorders. Oleo-resins can also be distilled from paprika for the use in pharmaceutical products.

 

References

Northern Territory Primary Industries ‘Capsicum and Chilli Fact Sheet’ http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Primary_Industry/Content/File/horticulture/vegetables/VF4_capsicum_chilli.pdf (January 2016)   
Western Australia Department of Agriculture https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/capsicums-and-chillies/growing-capsicums-and-chillies (January 2016)  

Carrot

History

Carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. They are native to Europe and south-western Asia. Wild red, black, yellow, white and purple carrots grew in Afghanistan in the 7th century. The Dutch first cultivated orange carrots. Carrots seeds reached Australia on the First Fleet in 1788 and were grown on Norfolk Island by convicts.

What are they

The carrot comes from the Daucus Carota family and is a root vegetable.  When fresh it has a crisp texture that is usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist.

How are they grown

Carrots grow best in full sun and prefer a moderate climate and regular watering. Carrots grow better from seeds but seedlings may also be used. Seeds start to germinate in three to seven days and shoots start emerging between one and three weeks after planting.

Where are they grown

All over Australia.

Variety

In Australia, carrots are not usually sold by variety. You can buy ‘baby’ carrots (usually harvested early) or ‘mature’, larger carrots.

One common type of carrot is the Dutch carrot. These are 5 to 8 cm long and sold in bunches with the leaves attached. Some of the other types of carrots include Imperitor, Nantes, Nantes-Berlicium. These are usually a reddish colour and are cylindrical to cigar-shaped. The new variety Kurodo (or Koyo) is shorter than the common type of carrot that is usually available in the supermarket.

How to know when they are ripe

When the tops of the roots obtain a diameter of 2-3.5 cm they can be considered ready for harvesting. A good watering a couple of hours prior to harvesting greatly facilitates lifting of the carrots. Young roots can be harvested in about 3 months.

Summer carrot crops can be ready for harvest in 16 weeks from sowing, while crops growing through the cooler winter months may grow for up to 24 weeks.

Seasonality

All year round.

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

High temperatures result in short thick roots.

Local market

Fresh and processed (frozen).

Storage

Storage life depends on storage temperature and humidity:

  • At 20°C and 60 to 70% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 2 to 3 days.
  • At 4°C and 80 to 90% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 1 to 2 months.
  • At 0°C and 90 to 95% relative humidity, carrots will keep for up to 6 months
  • The ideal conditions for best keeping quality are pre-cooling and storage at 0°C and 95 to 100% relative humidity.

Nutrition

Carrots have among the highest beta-carotene (provitamin A) level found in vegetables, which gives them the bright orange colour. B-carotene has antioxidant properties that help neutralise potentially health damaging free radicals. The deeper the carrot colour, generally the more carotene, which is broken down during digestion to vitamin A. Purple carrots contain anthocyanin, another antioxidant with health benefits.

Packaging

After harvest, the carrots are washed, brush polished, hydro-cooled, size and quality graded and packed into 10, 15 and 20 kilogram plastic bag-lined cardboard cartons or into 0.5 and 1 kilogram retail ready pre-pack bags.

Link for more information

AusVeg www.ausveg.com.au

 

References

Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/carrots/carrots-western-australia (January 2016)  

Celery

History

Celery, considered part of the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisines – celery, onions and capsicum – was also prized in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. For thousands of years it was considered a crucial medicine. In 30 AD, Aulus Cornelius Celsus (a Roman medical writer) suggested using celery seeds for the relief of pain. The cultivated version of wild celery was used extensively in Italian and French cuisine during the Middle Ages. 

What are they

Celery belongs to the Apiaceae family and is related to parsnips and carrots. It has long crisp light green stems and is used in a salad or cooked vegetable.  

How are they grown

In moderate temperatures.

How to know when they are ripe

The time from transplanting to harvest varies from 12 weeks in summer to 18 weeks in winter. Harvest before the stems become pithy or hard and fibrous. In spring, pick at earlier maturity to reduce bolting

Seasonality

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Celery                        

Weather impacts

Avoid extreme hot and cold weather.

Local Market

Fresh consumption.   

Storage

If hydro-cooling is not done, cool to 0°C with forced air or vacuum cooling in crates or bins as soon as possible after packing. Celery can be maintained in good condition for four to five weeks at 0°C and a high relative humidity (90-95%).

Nutrition

Celery is a good source of vitamins A, C and K which is important for helping blood clot. It also contains minerals such as potassium which helps to regulate blood pressure and manganese which involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function.Celery contains dietary fibre and folate.

Packaging

Celery is packed and graded in bunches in the field in 84L crates (30kg net). In the field or packing shed, they are cleaned with cool water to remove soil. Perforated polythene sleeves can be placed over the stems, with the top left open, after free water has drained from the leaves and stalks. Bunches can be dipped in cold water at 0°C (hydro-cooling) to remove field heat before sleeving.

 

References

Better health Victoria https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ingredientsprofiles/Celery (January 2016)

Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/celery/growing-celery-western-australia?page=0%2C0 (Janaury 2016)  
 

Lettuce

History

Originally viewed as a weed, it was only used for its oil rich seeds until the ancient Egyptians later cultivated it for its leaves. The explorer Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the Americas in the 15th century and by the late 20th century, the world was consuming lettuce. Lettuce seeds arrived in Australia on the First Fleet and now days, this popular vegetable is often found in backyard gardens around the country.

What are they

Lettuce is a part of the daisy family and is grown as a leafy green vegetable. Lettuce varieties range in sizes, shapes, colours and flavours however crisphead (iceberg), romaine (cos), butterhead and looseleaf are the most popular in Australia.

  • Crisphead has a compact, round head and firmly packed leaves
  • Cos has long, dark green leaves
  • Butterhead has soft green or brown-red leaves
  • looseleaf varieties do not form heads and come in various shapes and colours

How are they grown

Lettuce grows best at relatively cool temperatures and does not like extreme heat or cold. High daytime temperatures greater than 30°C at or near harvest can cause wilting. Lettuce can be grown from seeds or seedlings and requires plenty of water as it has shallow roots.

Where are they grown

Lettuce is grown all over Australia however the main lettuce production regions in Australia are the Lockyer Valley and Eastern Darling Downs (SE Qld); Hay and Central West (NSW); Lindenow and Robinvale (Vic); Manjimup and Gingin (WA); Virginia (SA) and Cambridge, Richmond and Devonport (Tas).

How to know when they are ripe

Lettuce plants are usually ready to harvest in six to 12 weeks. Around a week before your estimated harvest date, pick a few lettuces that appear to be ready to harvest. Push on the top of them to see how firm they are.  If the larger lettuces are firm, cut a few in half and check how closely leaves are packed in the head. If they are packed closely and most of the field has heads of about that size and firmness, the crop is ready to harvest.

Knowing when they are ready for harvest differs between varieties.  This depends on variety, season and the weather conditions

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Lettuce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

Heavy winter frosts of -3C will damage lettuce and kill young seedlings. During extensive rainy weather the plants are likely to become infected with diseases.

Local market

Fresh consumption including pre packaged salads.

Storage

Lettuce should be pre-cooled to as close to 1°C as possible within 1 to 2 hours of harvest. After pre-cooling they should be stored at 4°C and 95 to 100% relative humidity.

Nutrition

Depending on the variety, lettuce typically has a good source of Vitamin A, C and K, Iron and folate.

Packaging

Solid lettuce heads are cut, trimmed to 4 to 5 wrapped leaves and packed into waxed cartons, 12 to 16 heads per carton. Lettuce heads should be tightly packed in the carton to avoid movement during transport. Pack in two layers with hearts to the bottom and top, and butts to the middle.

 

 

References

Agriculture Queensland ‘Critical Temperature Thresholds Lettuce’ By Peter Deuter, Neil White, David Putland  http://www.managingclimate.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Critical-temperature-thresholds_Lettuce_V2.pdf (Febrary 2016)  
Queensland Department Agriculture and Fisheries http://era.daf.qld.gov.au/1660/4/3growlet.pdf (January 2016)

Pumpkin

History

Pumpkins have been cultivated for more than 5000 years. They are believed to have originated in Central America. Pumpkin seeds were carried by explorers and nomadic tribes and eventually spread to Asia and Europe.

What are they

Pumpkins are members of the Cucurbitaceae family which also includes cucumbers, gourds, melons, squash and zucchinis. Pumpkins can vary in colour from white to yellow to orange to green.

How are they grown

Pumpkins are frost sensitive and need frost-free growing periods of 4 to 5 months. High temperatures (above 35C) and low humidity are not conducive to high yields. Temperatures of 20C to 35C are ideal for maximum production.

The seeds develop into a vine with tendrils that grow along the ground and wrap around all obstacles that they encounter. Male and female flowers are produced on a single plant, with bees and other insects transferring pollen between flowers.

Where are they grown

All over Australia

Variety

Butternut, Windsor Black, Queensland Blue, Jarrahdale, Sweet Grey

How to know when they are ripe

It takes about 24 weeks before the pumpkin plant is mature and the pumpkins are ready for harvest. A cracked, dried stalk indicates that the pumpkins are ready for picking. Depending on the variety, the skin (rind) also changes colour as the pumpkin matures.

Seasonality

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local market

Fresh consumption and processed

Storage

Pumpkins for storage must be sound and should be handled with great care. Any bruise will soon develop a rot, which can spread through the stack. The ideal storage is a rat proof shed, built well off the ground, preferably at the level of a motor truck tray. Provide plenty of shelves to allow free circulation of air inside the shed.

In areas not subject to severe frost, pumpkins can be stored satisfactorily under heavily-foliaged cypress hedges, but for long storage pumpkins must be stored at temperatures above 7°C or breakdown caused by cold damage will occur.

Nutrition

  • Pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin C.
  • It also contains dietary fibre and minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure) and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function).

Packaging

Most growers sell their pumpkins in bulk, by the kilogram. Butternut pumpkins are usually sold in 20 kg red net bags or fibreboard cartons

Other uses

Both the seeds (roasted) and flowers are edible.

References

Better Health Victoria https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ingredientsprofiles/Pumpkin (January 2016)  

Queensland Department of Primary Industries http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/311485/Pumpkin-production.pdf (January 2016)  

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