Dean Wakefield and his wife Alex recently established the farm with Kevin and Kathy Stubbs - who own the land. The Wakefields operated an open crop gooseberry farm in Zimbabwe before moving to Australia in 2001, and Mr Wakefield initially worked in the fly-in, fly-out industry.
Mr Wakefield said they chose the crop because there didn’t seem to be any on shelves in Australia, and because it was a nutritious, under-rated fruit, full of vitamins A, B and C as well as iron: “I don’t think there are any other hydroponic Cape gooseberries anywhere in the world. We are planting in four different sections so we can hopefully provide our customers all year round. Our intention is to try and supply the shops that support local industry.”
They are also making jams, dried fruit, paste and other products from the fruit, which Mr Wakefield said were selling well in South African shops around Perth. After a bumper first harvest in summer, Wakefield told communitynews.com.au they had about eight casual employees who were helping to plant the next crop this month July.