Connecting with QLD growers and researchers

  • Connecting with QLD growers and researchers image

On day one of Hort Connections, PHA’s Karin Steenkamp, Communications Manager, and Kyra Murray, Project Officer: Partnerships and Innovation, attended the Northern Farm Bus Tour sponsored by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD DAF).

The off-site bus tour kicked off bright and early at the Brisbane markets for a behind-the-scenes tour of the bustling market. Delegates met some of the 50 wholesalers who receive fresh produce from over 7,000 growers and trade five days a week to more than 800 registered buyers.

The next stop was Bunya Fresh in Yandine where snacking tomatoes were being packed for one of the big retailers. Delegates were required to adhere to on-site biosecurity measures by washing hands and feet before entering the packing facility before the Bunya Fresh team introduced them to their impressive tomato grading and sorting machinery as well as the adjacent greenhouse.

At QLD DAF’s Maroochy Research Facility in Nambour, delegates learned more about research undertaken on subtropical crops and major breeding programs for macadamias, strawberries, low-chill stone fruit, custard apples, pineapples and ginger.

The tour concluded with a visit to Green Valley Fingerlimes in the picturesque Beerwah valley. Grower Jade King, who has over 15 years’ experience in soil science and agronomy, shared some of the logistical and commercial challenges in growing this native Australian citrus variety. As finger lime trees are notoriously thorny, delegates were challenged to pick a few finger limes to take home.

Special thanks go to Sharika Johnson and Sophie Burge from AUSVEG who hosted the tour.