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Australia: Niche producer successful in herbs, edible flowers

Jan Vydra might run one of the fastest-growing businesses in Australian agriculture but until a few years ago he didnít really call himself a farmer.

Now the 34-year-old in the bright green jacket covered with basil leaves, who co-founded Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs eight years ago, is proud to be described as a herb grower.

But Vydra is not just any young farmer starting out in business.

Since 2008, he and partner William Pham have taken their small business based in a dilapidated glasshouse on Melbourneís southeastern fringe from producing 2000 bunches of basil a week to supplying up to 180,000 bunches of 60 varieties of herbs, micro- greens and edible flowers every week across Australia.

Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs is now a leading niche horticultural producer with $13 million turnover, a major Coles contract, 120 full-time employees, three farms filled with the latest in hydroponic greenhouse technology, and sales growth of 40-50 per cent a year.

Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs is currently building a new $1.1 million glasshouse featuring the latest technology in irrigation and movable herb-pot trays.

Micro-greens such as cresses and 34 other micro-green varieties make up a new part of the business, while experiments with chefs using 12 different edible flowers such as violas, marigolds and nasturtium are continuing.

Read more at The Australian

Publication date: 1/5/2017



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