A Family Affair
The passion for farming is definitely in the family’s blood. Graeme’s great-grandfather
was a market gardener. His oldest brother, Wayne, has a PhD in agricultural science
and works at the University of Adelaide. Another brother, Glenn, once a dairy farmer is now a beef farmer.
Graeme started vegetable growing in the Adelaide Hills in 1998 with a whole lot of desire and little experience. In the early days the farm labour comprised Graeme and his Mother, Bev.
In 1999 Graeme’s father, John, retired from 27 years as a manager in aged care, trainer
and consultant and joined Graeme in the vegetable business. He brought his background in accounting to strengthen the business. John, who is now in his late seventies, is still actively involved in the finance and administrative side of the business.
In March of 2003 a decision was made to sell the Echunga farm and purchase land at Currency
Creek on the beautiful Fleurieu peninsula. Until 2003 Pitchford Produce grew vegetables
at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills but could only harvest for 7 months of the year
because of the wet winters. Being only about 8kms inland from the Murray River mouth
the new property enjoyed the temperate environment of a coastal influence and thus
is able to produce vegetables all year round.
Graeme and his wife Mandy and their 3 children Eliza, Meg, & Oli live on the farm.
Mandy is a hairdresser and all the children love helping out on the farm. They really
enjoy the farm environment which is set in glorious gentle hills with large areas
on farm set aside for conservation of local flora and fauna.
Pitchford Produce’s growth has been quite outstanding since 2003 with recent purchases
of adjacent land. They now provide vegetables to 4 states, employ 40 people, and
plant about 130,000 plants each week. The key values that drive the business are
quality produce, continuity of supply and good customer service.
Broccolini is their pride and joy! Pitchford Produce is still the only grower of
genuine Broccolini in South Australia. There are only 12 Australian growers of this
specialty vegetable, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale.
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