One of Western Australia's largest fresh-cut salad producers says their sales have been growing year on year to keep up with the demand of local customers.
The Loose Leaf Lettuce Company, based in Gingin in Western Australia grows and processes salads for the local wholesale markets, and one of the farm managers Jase Dobra says the company grows to order.
"The main varieties are spinach, rocket, red and green lettuces, baby cos and some of the Asian vegetables such as Mizuna and Tatsoi," Mr Dobra said. "We have done a little bit of sales through One Harvest in the past, but we mainly just service Western Australia. We supply local wholesalers, as well as a few processors, however, the majority are at Canning Vale Markets."
Photo courtesy: Loose Leaf Lettuce Company's Facebook page
He added that the company is experiencing one of its biggest and challenging years ever.
"We look at last year's volume and add a slight amount (to production)," Mr Dobra said. "Our sales keep going up every year, so while we have had a busy year, we did have some quiet periods too, due to COVID. Customers are really liking our spinach, rocket - and the mixes are really popular too."
With over 40 years of growing experience, The Loose Leaf Lettuce Company is a family-run business with two farms, one with an on-site state-of-the-art processing plant. The company also has its own fleet of refrigerated trucks.
"We are growers and processors," he said. "We have clients now that we have been dealing with for so long, and do marketing so well, so we do it all through them. My dad and his parents Maureen and Barry own the Company, and all of their children and some spouses work for the business. Kevan is one of their sons, and I am the oldest of his sons and my other brothers are still in school."
The Loose Leaf Lettuce Company is certified Freshcare Food Safety and Quality and also they are HACCP Accredited. It undertakes many initiatives such as recycling and using solar, to reduce savings when using large amounts of energy to power irrigation and cool rooms. Mr Dobra attended Hort Connections in Brisbane to get ideas on ways to improve operations and keep innovating.
"It is always very interesting to have a look at what's new and coming into the market and new techniques," he said. "I have been really interested in some of the new varieties that are coming through."