plants are grown on mounds with black plastic mulch film used for
weed control. Irrigation is carried out with dripper lines installed
under the plastic. Before planting, the soil is prepared with
compost, organic fertilizer and trace elements added in accordance
with deficiencies determined from soil analysis. Additional top-up "fertigation"
is carried out by adding fish and seaweed based liquid fertilizers
through the irrigation lines.
Planting is done in July. Fruit production commences either late
September or early October and continues until late April or early
May. Heavy production periods are generally November and March.
Picking is carried out manually by workers trained to pick the fruit
carefully without damage.
chain management is an important part of quality control and is
given particular emphasis at Drover's Rest. After picking, the fruit
is placed immediately into a cool room, either the packing shed cool
room, or a portable refrigerated cool room mounted on a trailer,
which is parked for easy access by the picking team, and which can
be used to transport the fruit to the packing shed. In the dedicated packing
shed, the fruit is graded and packed into punnets and trays by
experienced packing staff and returned to one of the two packing
shed cool rooms.
The packed fruit ready for market is transported in Drover's Rest
own refrigerated truck to a refrigerated transport company based in
Manjimup approximately 30 km from Bridgetown, from where it is
transported to Canning Vale in the Perth metropolitan area. At
Canning Vale, the fruit goes to either the Canning Vale Markets
wholesaler, or if destined for the eastern states, to a transport
company and agent who arrange airfreight to Sydney, Melbourne,
Adelaide or Brisbane. The refrigerated chain remains unbroken. Fruit
picked on one day can be in the Canning Vale Markets the next
afternoon and in the eastern states the following day.
"Seconds" fruit is washed and hulled for the frozen fruit market
or our processing factory.
A transport company freezer truck picks up directly from the
New strawberry plant varieties are constantly being tried in
order to offer you the most up to date varieties. Fresh strawberries
are sold via selected wholesalers to organic shops, health food
shops and supermarkets. Since
starting the venture, we have concentrated on maintaining first
quality fruit. The organic fruit has superior taste and shelf life
compared to conventional fruit and is in strong demand. Drover's
Rest, with its associated logo, has become a familiar brand name in
the organic industry. To purchase our fruit, please contact us for
New strawberry plant varieties are constantly being tried,
including the new Albion variety.
Read more about
New Albion Cultivar (PDF, 103KB).
A trellis system totalling over 800 m in
length has been constructed and planted with a variety of
berries (bramble berries) including boysenberries,
youngberries, silvanberries, loganberries and blackberries. Some
fruit is sold into the frozen market, and the rest
processed in our factory. Currants, gooseberries, jostaberries
and elderberries have also been planted, about 1,000 bushes in
total, to add to variety. Fresh berries can be supplied if
transport or pick up can be arranged for this soft fruit.
Soil preparation before planting is given strong emphasis, and
part of this preparation is the addition of compost in order to
increase soil fertility by enhancing humus content. Because large
quantities of compost are required, compost can be made on the farm
or transported to the farm from a certified organic compost
supplier. Chicken manure is mixed with green waste from tree lopping
operations, set out in windrows and turned regularly with a tractor
driven turning machine designed to our own specifications. Water is
added regularly via a spray system set up on each windrow. The
temperature of the compost heaps is monitored to ensure sufficient
heat is generated to destroy pathogens and to kill weed seeds.