Gerry Harvey’s hope for Australia’s future is that we should never have to buy imported food.
The retail tycoon is doing his part, with a not-so-little secret passion project in the form of a farm in Peats Ridge that is churning out millions of baby cucumbers also known as ‘Qukes’ every year.
It’s a farm where size and quality matters.
Workers pluck the baby cucumbers measuring between 85 and 110mm from the vine before putting them into boxes which are taken away to Australia’s major grocery retailers.
According to Harvey, the idea of an elite “foodie” culture is nonsense.
“To me, everyone who loves cooking and enjoys a home cooked meal is a foodie,” he said.
“Produce that is fresh and locally produced is more likely to have a higher nutrient content and taste better. It not only has a direct impact on our health, but makes us better cooks.”
Harvey’s call to buy local is echoed by celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge, who he took on a tour of his hi-tech salad production bowl ahead of the Delicious Produce Awardstomorrow night.
“These days people want to know where their food is coming from, but they also need to realise if they want good quality produce, they have to be willing to pay for it,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into producing these baby cucumbers — they grow so fast that they need to be picked twice a day. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mr Harvey, who grew up always thinking he’d be a farmer, is sponsoring the awards this year and is thrilled to recognise the country’s best producers who are at the top of their game.
Judged by a team of chefs and food experts, the awards salute the amazing work that goes into putting our dinner on the table.
Editor-in-chief of delicious., Kerrie McCallum, said the awards would influence restaurant menus in the year to come, “but most importantly give credit to the people who care for the produce that lands on our plates”.
The winners will be announced tomorrow night at the 14th annual delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards in Sydney.