Harris Farm expands into Queensland

Harris Farm Markets will open two stores in Brisbane, beginning with Clayfield in November before opening the flagship store at West Village in West End in May next year.

Harris Farm Markets has operated for more than 40 years, with Queensland being the first state for the NSW-based business to expand into, and there’s a reason. In November, Harris Farm Markets will open at the site of the current Clayfield Markets on Sandgate Road, home, and run by local produce experts, Carlo and Susan Lorenti. It’s this site that holds the history.

“We are incredibly excited to be opening at this site because Harris Farm used to own it 30 years ago before handing it over to Carlo and Susan. It’s a full-circle story and we are thrilled that Carlo and Susan are staying on as our managers at Clayfield, along with as many staff as possible,” said Harris Farm Markets co-CEO Tristan Harris, one of the three Harris sons who now run the company after their parents, David and Cathy Harris, retired.

He said the two Brisbane stores will offer produce from more than 300 Queensland growers, creators and producers, including organic milk from Barambah, My Berries from Caboolture, Brisbane’s Roza’s Gourmet sauces, and organic chicken from Hobbs Family Farms Organic in Pittsworth.

In addition, combined the two stores will employ over 200 staff, a welcome injection to the local economy.

“The Clayfield store will be home to the best in fruit and vegetables, including a tomato shed, organic produce section and a leaderboard of Queensland strawberries and mangoes, as well as a gourmet grocery section of boutique local products, an extensive deli and offering of more than 200 cheeses, a bakery section with the best breads from sourdough to brioche, and a premium meat selection.

“It will be a flavour-filled showcase of Queensland and Australian produce under one roof, and we can’t wait to open in November in a city that values their fresh fruit, vegetables and food stories so highly. Queensland is famed for the richness and range of produce grown across the state, and to be able to work with so many wonderful producers is one of our dreams.”

The Clayfield store will undergo a rebuild, redesign and changeover, before opening in late November as Harris Farm Markets Clayfield.

In May next year, the flagship Harris Farm Markets will open in the exciting West Village development at West End.

“If Clayfield is our historic family home in Brisbane, then West End will be our headquarters,” said Harris.

Harris Farm Markets will take over part of the Peters Ice Cream building, built in the 1920s by the American migrant, Fred Peters.

“The warehouse space is nothing short of extraordinary and will allow us to build our flagship Queensland Harris Farm Markets store, with great local fruit, veg and gourmet grocery, as well as some local concession partnerships we’re really excited about. Opening in West Village, one of the most exciting urban developments we have ever seen, is a fantastic opportunity, particularly given the history of fresh fruit and vegetable markets in the West End peninsula,” Harris said.

Jobs the key focus for food trade mission to Hong Kong and Chongqing

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner, will lead a delegation of 18 food businesses to Hong Kong and Chongqing next week.

Furner said it was an important opportunity to explore and expand opportunities to export delicious Queensland food products to Chinese markets.

“This trade mission has one objective and one objective only, and that is to grow Queensland jobs by expanding export market opportunities for these businesses,” Furner said.

Furner said a key event on the Hong Kong leg of this trade mission will be HOFEX, Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show.

In Chongqing, the delegation will attend the official opening of the Chongqing-Australia Trade and Economic Forum.

“This trade mission is a massive opportunity for the Queensland food and beverage businesses who will take part,” Furner said.

“We will have Game Meat Processing from Ipswich, Ballistic Beer Co from Brisbane, Gotzinger Smallgoods from Yatala, Proteco Oil from Kingaroy, Human Bean from Goondiwindi and Brisbane Valley Protein from the Scenic Rim, just to name a few.”

Queensland’s total good exports reached more than $80 billion in the 12 months to November. This included significant exports from Queensland’s $5.3 billion beef industry.

Wiley helps John Dee upgrade regional cold store

The beginning of construction of the John Dee Regional Cold Store was officially heralded recently with a sod-turning ceremony at the facility in Warwick. The project is set to upgrade the existing abattoir to develop a valuable regional asset and will be completed in late 2019.

John Dee engaged Brisbane-based international project delivery company, Wiley to complete the design and delivery for the Regional Cold Store and ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System) facility solution. The facility is set to enable John Dee to reduce operational costs, expand storage capacity, increase product sorting capabilities and secure the future of the local, family-owned business.

Maranoa MP the Hon David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, and the Mayor of Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC), Cr Tracy Dobie joined with the John Dee leadership team and Wiley representatives at the site as work gets underway.

The Regional Cold Store and ASRS will be delivered with minimal impact to production in an operating plant, something Wiley has a extensive experience in. The facility solution will be fit for the purposes of storage, sortation and retrieval.


The objectives of the project are to increase flexibility in picking product for orders and handle a high number of product variants with a focus on operational workplace health and safety.

Wiley representatives were on hand as the appointed design-build partners to celebrate and congratulate SDRC and John Dee on the project milestone. Wiley’s chief operating officer, Robert Barron, said, “We are really excited for SDRC, John Dee and the community for this project to begin. Not only does the project boost the economy with local jobs during construction, by an estimated 80 people, but also provides a valuable asset to the future of the business. We’re looking forward to bringing together local subcontractors and suppliers to assist in delivering the facility upgrade.”

The regional cold store was bought to life by funding from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

“This expansion will not only protect the 630 existing jobs, it creates 143 new full-time jobs and 138 indirect new full-time jobs.” said Littleproud. “Securing $4.8 million for this facility will help bolster employment opportunities in our region. Export opportunities from this development will come to about $111 million.”

“Southern Downs Mayor, Tracy Dobie, said, “John Dee is one of the region’s largest employers and its expansion shows great confidence in the future of the local livestock industry. This is a positive step forward as the Southern Downs continues to grow and prosper.”

Four generations of experience in the beef industry means John Dee is a trusted name in cattle husbandry, feed lotting and grain feed development. John Dee is a modern, internationally recognised brand that is shaping the next generation of global beef supply and the investment in this facility will enable the business to continue to support the local community well into the future.

Queensland government announces aquaculture development areas in Rockhampton

The Queensland government has declared two Rockhampton region sites as prime targets to play a part in Queensland’s booming aquaculture industry.

State minister for agricultural industry development and fisheries Mark Furner today announced six land-based marine Aquaculture Development Areas (ADAs).

The state government announcement includes more than 3700 hectares of land in the Rockhampton region, including sites at sites at Casuarina Creek and Raglan Creek

“The Queensland government supports the future development and growth of an ecologically sustainable, diverse and innovative aquaculture industry,” minister Furner said.

“Our proximity to Asian markets, reputation for quality seafood and increased demand for Australian native fish species means Queensland is well-positioned to produce high value aquaculture products.

“Identifying areas suitable for aquaculture development is an important initiative to grow the industry, and will bring more jobs in a stronger regional Queensland economy.

Furner said the ADAs will help identify areas with potential for land-based marine aquaculture development and provide investors with a list of locations suitable for projects.

“Investors will not be limited to the identified areas and will still have the option to explore other parts of Queensland for land-based marine aquaculture development,” he said.

“The sites were identified in consultation with industry, government and affected landholders and would have the least environmental impact and land-use constraints for operating an aquaculture business.”

State development, manufacturing infrastructure and planning minister Cameron Dick said the ADAs provide a strong starting point for local government in considering the most appropriate locations for the industry along the Queensland Coast, as required by the State Planning Policy.

“As custodians of the Great Barrier Reef, the Government needs to take steps to ensure that growing aquaculture is done in a way that will protect the environment and the Reef at the same time,” Dick said.

“Through better planning upfront for aquaculture and looking at innovative technologies and approaches, we can minimise the environmental impacts while growing this important industry.”

Queensland scheme sees five-million containers recycled in first week

Queensland’s new Container Refund Scheme has seen more than five-million containers returned and recycled in the scheme’s first week.

In early November, Minister for environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said half-a-million-dollars had gone back to Queenslanders or charities and community groups from the amount of containers returned or recycled.

“We’ve also seen some great recycling happening in regional areas. More than 780,000 containers have been returned in Wide Bay, and more than 770,000 in Townsville.

“As part of Containers for Change, Queenslanders are able to get 10 cents back for returning their bottles and cans, or donate the refund to a charity or community group,” said Enoch.

READ: New facility in New Zealand sees water packaged in recycled plastic bottles

Containers for Change was about recycling and reducing litter in the environment, she said.

“Queenslanders use nearly three billion containers a year, and sadly they are the most commonly littered item in the environment.

“This scheme creates an incentive for Queenslanders to recycle their containers and get a refund.”

The scheme is also creating job opportunities, said Enoch.

“This scheme has created about 500 new jobs, with people starting work at container refund points across the state,” she said.

Container Exchange is the company responsible for implementing and managing the scheme.

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said it was a massive result to have five-million containers returned and recycled, which is bound to have a positive impact on the environment.

“We also now have 27,000 people signed up with a scheme ID, allowing them to be paid their refund straight into their bank account.

“People are able to support local community groups by donating their containers and we encourage social purpose organisations to sign up for the scheme.

“We’d love to see communities get behind Containers for Change to raise funds for schools, sporting clubs and other not-for-profits,” said Noye.

FII and ANSTO collaborate for broadacre crop fertiliser

Researchers from the Future Industries Institute (FII) at the University of South Australia are collaborating with a group of scientists at ANSTO to investigate a new class of micro and nano-scale zinc fertilisers for broadacre crops, such as wheat.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient required for the growth of wheat with crucial roles throughout the plant. Australian agricultural soils are known to be deficient in zinc and other micronutrients.

Dr Casey Doolette  and PhD candidate Thea Lund Read from Prof Enzo Lombi’s lab are assessing if nano and micro zinc particles applied to leaves (known as foliar fertilisers) provide a more sustained supply of zinc to crops than dissolved forms of the metal.

They are also evaluating two commonly used agricultural formulations, soluble zinc and chelated zinc (Zn-EDTA).

In order to make this evaluation, they needed to use a combination of tools to understand zinc transport and bioaccumulation.

One technique, based on the use of radiotracers to track the distribution of elements, was of particular interest and available at ANSTO.

ANSTO Environmental Research scientist Dr Tom Cresswell  has expertise in the use of radioactive isotopes as tracers in marine organisms to study the bioaccumulation of specific elements.

“It is slightly different working with plants but the concept is essentially the same. By using zinc-65 as a radiotracer, it is possible to detect exactly where the zinc goes after it has been absorbed by the plant,” said Cresswell.

ANSTO Biologist Nicholas Howell has captured a series of autoradiographic images of the plants that show the change in distribution of radioactive zinc, in live leaves, over time.

“Conventional analysis and imaging of zinc is limited because the naturally-occurring zinc in the leaves makes it difficult to identify newly-accumulated zinc,” Said Doolette.

The purpose of the study is to determine what form of zinc is the most efficient for supplying the nutrient to broadacre crops following its application to the leaves.

Doolette explained that although zinc can also be delivered directly to the soil, there are some limitations due to soil conditions that affect its ability to address zinc deficiency in plants. “When you deliver zinc to Australian agricultural soils, the zinc tends to get locked up, particularly in alkaline soils, and is not readily available to the plants,” said Doolette.

This occurs because zinc is largely immobile in soil and only moves short distances from the point of placement.

Leaf applications of zinc are used by crop farmers to supplement soil applications.

Doolette explained that applying zinc in a soluble formulation has a tendency to damage the leaves.

“However, if the zinc can be released slowly into the leaf, such as the case when it is applied in nano form, there is likely to be less leaf scorch” said Doolette.

The investigators are not focused on how the zinc, in the form of soluble zinc, is taken up but rather how much zinc is bioaccumulated.

They are measuring zinc concentrations, as well as identifying where the zinc is transported in the plant, whether it be the new shoots, stems or grains.

“Ideally we would hope to have the applied zinc accumulate in the grains of the plant, where it has the most nutritional benefit as food, which is known as biofortification,” said Doolette.

“We hope to find out if using zinc nanoparticles is a viable way of administering it as a nutrient.”

Doolette and Read transported 140 wheat plants by air to ANSTO, where they were housed in a greenhouse on-site fully licenced for conducting radiotracing studies.

Plants were harvested, or imaged, after one day, 14 days and at maturity (i.e. the production of grains) to evaluate the translocation and biodistribution of zinc.

The imaging technique developed by the team has allowed for single plants to be measured at multiple time points without the need to harvest, producing a true, and unique, longitudinal data set.

The concentration of zinc is quantified using gamma spectroscopy.

The zinc particles for the experiments were made industry partner Sonic Essentials and were made radioactive using the OPAL research reactor.

“By determining the most efficient form of zinc for direct foliar application, crop management strategies can be optimised to increase crop yield and quality,” said Doolette.

Zinc is used by the plant for protein metabolism, synthesis of hormones and in the production of essential enzymes.

“We would also be interested in knowing how much zinc is not taken up by the plant, as this zinc would be released into the environment with rainfall,” said Cresswell.

“From the perspective of an ecotoxicologist, it is important to know if the zinc is affecting freshwater runoff.”

BrewDog given greenlight to build $30m Brisbane brewery

Scottish craft brewer, BrewDog, has officially received the green light from the Brisbane City Council to begin construction of its $30m brewery in Murarrie, Brisbane. The development includes the construction of a 50hl, 3,000 sqm brewing and canning facility as well as a restaurant, taproom and visitor centre.

BrewDog announced in February of this year that it had settled on Brisbane as the home of its Australian headquarters. The development application was submitted mid-March and this week it was presented to the local council who gave their support for the development.

In building a brewery in Australia, BrewDog is shortening the distance between the people who make their beer and the people who drink it, ensuring Australians have access to the freshest BrewDog beer possible.

Brisbane City Council’s approval of BrewDog’s development application means that the brewery is now on schedule to start construction in July of this year.The building is due to be completed by the end of 2018, and the first Brisbane-brewed BrewDog beer should be released in the first quarter of 2019.

The brewery is planning a major launch party with the local community and fans from far and wide. Initially, the Brisbane brewery will focus on BrewDog’s core range, with world-famous beers such as Punk IPA, Dead Pony Club and Elvis Juice.

The brewery will also brew small batch beers with local ingredients from the Southern Hemisphere. Production volume is expected gradually rise up to 10 million litres per year over the first few years. The company has said that the launch of BrewDog Australia is expected to generate 150 jobs in the Brisbane area over the next 5 years.

Zarah Prior, director of BrewDog Australia said, “We couldn’t be happier to set up our brewing operation in the awesome area of Murarrie. We’ve seen incredible support from the local community, local brewers, and council in both Brisbane and the wider QLD region.”

Councillor Ryan Murphy (Doboy) said, “The local area of Murarrie and Cannon Hill don’t have a single pub in either suburb, now we’re getting the biggest brewery in all of Brisbane – residents are over the moon about this.”

Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat win big at the 2015 Australian Organic Awards

 Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Company has won gold twice at the 2015 Australian Organic Annual Awards.  The ceremony was held in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, on 27 November. The awards received were ‘Best Organic Food Product’ (for the new Paleo beef sausage under their Cleaver’s brand) and ‘Export Market Leader.’
The organic food sector is one of the fastest growing categories in Australia.  The estimated value of the certified organic industry is $AUD1.72B per annum. 

Australian organic exports alone are now worth $AUD340 million. With so much opportunity at home and abroad, Arcadian is staying focused on developing new and innovative products.   The company goal is to remain a leader in the Australian organic food industry and a leading organic exporter.
“Our Cleaver’s brand Paleo beef sausages have only been on shelves since July of this year. Its success, so soon after launching the product, has lead us to develop a family of other Paleo products to offer alongside this award-winning beef sausage,” said Mick Dorahy, Chief Operating Officer and head of the Cleaver’s business.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about the quality of their diet and their desire to source quality organic products. The awards help to validate how important it is to maintain the high standards of our industry and continually innovate in the development of new products to meet the needs of our customers”, said Dorahy.
On receiving the Export Market Leader award, CEO of Arcadian Organic, Alister Ferguson, said, “We are so delighted to be the recipient of this award. We have worked particularly hard to build our export business. Over 75 per cent of our product is exported and we continue to drive new opportunities across Asia and the United States.”

“We feel humbled by the recognition of this award and excited about the growth of our business from increasing overseas demand for quality organic Australian beef and lamb.

BDC launches the Master Distillers’ Collection rum

The Bundaberg Distilling Company (BDC) has released the Master Distillers’ Collection (MDC) Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum. 

This premium rum celebrates the Bundaberg Black legacy, exhibiting the richness, depth and character that are the staples of the Bundaberg Rum Black Barrel range and is set to launch at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival in October.
MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum has spent the last decade ageing in American White Oak and was finished in small, heavy charred barrels. The result is an enticingly sweet rum that has been barrel matured for longer than last year’s MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2004, making it smoother whilst retaining a deep red lustre that is reminiscent of the glow of burning cane fields of yesteryear. 

The result is a premium, full character old aged dark rum featuring notes of deep caramel and sweet raisins, making this a well balanced treat for the palate.
The type of barrel is key to the rate at which a rum matures and the number of different barrels used by the BDC, results in the Master Distillers’ Collective (The Collective) regularly undertaking checks of the ten year old reserves on site to assess which batch is maturing best.
Senior Brand Manager for Bundaberg Rum, Duncan Littler, comments; “The Collective is dedicated to creating premium rums that embrace and celebrate the rich and diverse history of rum. MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 has been barrel matured for longer creating a delectable rum, even smoother than its predecessors in the range.”

Available in 700ml bottles, each MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 (40 per cent ABV) also carries a unique number.