Drover's Rest Organic Berry Farm

 

 

 

 

 

Our Field and Transport Operations

Strawberry Production

 

 

Mounding and Plastic LayingStrawberry 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.

 

Refrigerated TruckCold 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 farm.

 

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 details.

 

New strawberry plant varieties are constantly being tried, including the new Albion variety.
Read more about The New Albion Cultivar (PDF, 103KB).

 

Other Berry Production

 

Rubus BerriesA trellis system totalling over 800 m in length has been constructed and planted with a variety of rubus 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.

 

Compost Making

 

Compost TurningSoil 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.