Yarra Valley Gourmet Greenhouse now also supplies wholesalers, retailers and providores with a range of herbs and vegetables
YVGG is a two person operation run by Meagan Bertram and Steven Briggs, both of whom have a background in horticulture. Between them, their experiences include a wide range of disciplines from floriculture to landscape management to nursery production. Running a sustainable market garden pulls together knowledge from all of these areas, enabling them to channel their passion for good quality, ethically grown produce.
The property is located in the Yarra Valley, where the rich red soil supports vigorous plant growth. Almost 3 acres of multi-span igloos enable an extended growing season, and afford protection from destructive weather events such as frost or hail.
SUSTAINABILITY is a driving force in the business. Since taking possession of the Mt Evelyn property in 2005 much has been invested in improving the soil, upgrading infrastructure and implementing environmentally sound processes.
Cultivation and hand-weeding are practised rather than spraying herbicides. This means that damaging chemicals which can be detrimental to soil ecology are not being used. Similarly, biological controls and certified organic sprays are employed for pest and disease issues to avoid the use of harsh chemicals. This allows microorganisms and beneficial insects to flourish, encouraging a healthy and balanced ecosystem. In the warmer months, an Integrated Pest Management expert monitors the crops weekly. A specific program is then devised for our particular pest problems, rather than using a generic calendar based program which can give rise to pest resistance issues, and harm beneficial insects. Crop rotation helps to guard against the build up of pest and disease in the soil.
All of our crops are harvested by hand, and cultivation is kept to a minimum, as constant traffic from heavy machinery can cause soil compaction and structural problems.
Natural seaweed extracts boost the health of the plants by supporting soil ecology. These are delivered to the roots via fertigation.
The overhead irrigation has gradually been replaced by drip tape. This has reduced water usage to less than a quarter of the original system. Water is delivered directly to the roots of the crop, meaning that weeds are not being watered, and evaporation is reduced. Irrigation is carried out in the cool of the day, also minimising evaporation losses.
PRESERVATION OF GENETIC DIVERSITY
YVGG steers away from the modern trend of monoculture farming by growing a number of varieties of a range of crops. Heritage (or heirloom) varieties are chosen primarily for their superior flavour, but this has the added benefit of preserving genetic diversity. Unfortunately, heirloom vegetables do not always lend themselves to commercial production because they often lack the "desirable" characteristics that have been selected for, usually to withstand large scale production and distribution. This is often at the cost of flavour. Growing on a small scale and supplying locally overcomes these issues and gives chefs access to produce that would otherwise be unavailable without the luxury of a kitchen garden.
Y.V.G.G specialises in heirloom tomatoes. Depending on weather, the season usually runs from late December to early April. These are our pride and joy. Summer also heralds our Italian zucchini flowers, generally available from mid November through to early April.
Throughout the year we have petite and baby heirloom radishes.
We have recently added baby Spanish onions and baby heirloom beets to our range, as well as purple carrots,
broccoli spring raab, spring onions and baby leeks.
Broad-leaf roquette is available year-round. Herbs and edible flowers are available seasonally.
Product range can vary. Please contact Meagan on 0425 794 167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an availability list.
We are in the process of developing Ferndale Farm. The long term goal is to create a beautiful kitchen garden in a picturesque setting. Having moved all of the perennial herbs over from Mt Evelyn, we will now endeavour to plant Ferndale out with edible flowers and an array of heritage vegetables.
0425 794 167
0419 003 704
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