Business SA recently held a Regional Voice workshop in Loxton. Prior to the session, they asked if I could share a little bit about our business. I don't think this will become a viral sensation however, it does give an insight to who we are and where we are going!
by Samantha Thomas - excerpt from The Loxton News
Just six months after wondering what to do with their first crop, Loxton pomegranate growers Paul and Jane Wilson have finished the season with “overwhelmingly positive” results.
Riverland Pomegranates’ final crop was recently delivered to its Adelaide stockists, Foodland Frewville and Pasadena, where the fruit has “been flying off the shelves”. “It's been unbelievable,” Mrs Wilson said.
“We didn't really know what we'd be going into and how well it would go. “We lucked in with the stores in Adelaide... they've been blown away by the quality of the fruit. “They've taken everything we've had each week, so we've got it down there and it's walked out the door.”
Committed to forming a strong relationship with their stockists, Mr and Mrs Wilson have made the weekly trips down to Adelaide themselves. “We have been (delivering) this year to build our relationships with the stores,” Mrs Wilson said. “Because there's no middle man with Foodland Frewville and Pasadena – it's farmer-direct to the store – we've wanted to establish that relationship to be able to continue on with sales next year. “I spoke to both of the fruit and vegetable managers at both of the stores and they just can't wait for next year.
“In our peak, we send down 500 one-kilogram bags and over 500 pieces of premium fruit in a week and it sold out... “We couldn't believe it.” With strong interest in their fruit, the local pomegranate growers will be planting more orchards to keep up with demand. “We've got another 25 hectares and then we've got another supplier supplying us with another 20 hectares, so (a total of) 45 to 50 hectares,” Mr Wilson said. “That gives us around 700 tonnes and we only produce around 10 tonnes at the moment “It will take a few more years for the ones that we will be planting to get into production.”
With most of the work done by hand to protect the fruit, the duo will need to expand their team. “We'll be hiring quite a few people in the years to come,” Mr Wilson predicted. Locals might have to wait a few years before being able to buy one of their pomegranates, with Mr and Mrs Wilson maintaining their relationship with Foodland Frewville and Pasadena. “We will get to the point where our orchards are producing more that we might be looking for other markets and potentially down the road,” Mrs Wilson said. “At the moment we intend to keep building on the market that we've got with Foodland because it's the perfect target market down there. “The people are happy to pay the price and because it is premium fruit, they want it, so it's the perfect match for us."
We were extremely proud to have our 2016/17 season's Pomegranates for sale at Foodland Frewville and Pasadena.
These stores pride themselves in supplying SA grown premium produce. The standard is so high that Foodland Frewville has been crowned the ‘World’s Best Supermarket of the Year’ for 2016 and 2017!
Shopping at these stores is a unique experience. It’s not every fruit and veg department that has someone playing classical music on a piano! We recommend dropping in next time you are in Adelaide but make sure you allow a couple of hours… just to look at the fruit and vegetable section!
We loved being in the store, talking to the customers and giving them a taste of our Pomegranates.