At Coles, we bring you the best quality fresh produce from around the country and in order to do that we source from the very best growers around Australia. Meet Craig from Renmark in SA, Steve & Andrew from Harvey in WA, Joe from the Sunraysia region in NSW, Justin from Mildura in Victoria and Michael from Emerald in Queensland. They hand select the best citrus to bring you great quality fresh oranges and mandarins.
This month we’re celebrating fresh and juicy pears and in our latest Coles Magazine, we caught up with our pear grower, Charlie in South West WA. Despite the stunning surroundings of rolling hills and lush orchards, Charlie Keallis says his job can be stressful. “At harvest time, you see the rewards of your work, but you’ve got to get it right,” he says. And with more than seven varieties of pears growing over 15 hectares, there’s plenty to know.
A third-generation pear farmer, the first trees were planted at Queenwood Orchards in the 1930s. Charlie says, “Good summers, winter chills, plenty of water and good soil” are the key to Donnybrook producing the pear harvest it does. “Picking varies between 800 and 1000 bins a year,” he says. “Roughly 280 to 300 tonnes of fruit a year goes to Coles.” These varieties include Australian favourites such as Beurre Bosc, Gold Rush, Packham and Corella.
Pears have such a subtle flavour which makes them ideal for a quick snack or as a great addition to desserts or salads. Make the most of in season pears for dinner with this Stuffed Pork & pear salad recipe or for another savoury dinner idea make Proscuitto-wrapped Chicken with honey-roasted pears. For dessert, make Poached Pears with creamy vanilla rice or create sweet & golden Chocolate Pear Pastries.
We are big yoghurt lovers at Coles so it makes sense that we developed our Coles Brand Thick and Creamy yoghurt with our partners in the glorious Tamar Valley in Tasmania. Tamar Valley Dairy sources over four million litres of milk each year from Tasmanian dairy farms to produce a whopping 3,000 tonnes of Coles yoghurt. This week we introduce you to the contented cows who are responsible for some of the best yoghurt around.
Eating, socialising, milking, it’s safe to say the dairy cows of Tasmania’s Tamar Valley have a relaxed life with rolling hills and views of the Bass Strait. The 1,400 cows are tended to by 12 farm staff and deliver fresh milk twice a day in a state-of-the-art milking shed.
Once the milk leaves the Tamar Valley, it makes the short trip to Launceston where it is heated and culture is added to create yoghurt by Archie Matteo and his family who have been working with milk for generations.
While the process of making yoghurt may sound simple, creating the perfect yoghurt requires a great amount of detail as Archie explains, “the right type of heat and live cultures for the yoghurt, the quality and consistency of the milk – they all make a difference”. Part of getting it right is what’s added – or uniquely not, in Archie’s case. No gelatine and no artificial colour or flavours are added so the flavours remain true.
Look for Coles Brand Thick and Creamy yoghurts in the dairy section. They are gelatine-free with no artificial colours and flavours and are of course all-Australian developed with our partners in the beautiful Tamar Valley, Tasmania.
We’ve never been more conscious of seafood sustainability and this Friday we’re proud to support Sustainable Seafood Day. To kick off celebrations, Curtis Stone visited the Gold Coast Tiger Prawn Farm in Woongoolba on the Gold Coast and met the farmers who provide delicious fresh prawns to our stores. He helped catch the prawns and watched over the process from water to store (while sampling some of the award-winning prawns along the way). Curtis even helped a few lucky customers at our Runaway Bay store pick their seafood for dinner!
The Gold Coast Tiger Prawn Farm has supplied tiger prawns to our stores for 6 years and employs 40 local people. The farm produces 1,000 tonnes of prawns annually and recently received an independent review by WWF and have been recognised as a responsible seafood provider. These reviews are part of our partnership with WWF to aide our transition to responsibly sourced seafood. We’re also helping our customers make more informed choices when shopping for seafood with clearer packaging and a firm Australia-first sourcing policy.
Australians love their seafood and our farmers and fishmongers are some of the best in the business with a passion for seafood sustainability. Next time you’re in store, ask the team and they’d be happy to show you some delicious options and we hope like us, you celebrate Sustainable Seafood Day with some yummy barbecued prawns or fresh Tasmanian salmon.
Sticky, sweet and so abundant right now, it’s time to celebrate Australian plums and our farming families who grow them. In this month’s Coles Magazine, we caught up with fourth-generation plum farmer Kim Tucker who has been growing plums for 30 years. His family has been farming their Boronia Gully Orchard in Western Australia for 90 years and produce up to 250 tonnes of plums every season! Here is an extract from our interview:
What makes this area so great for growing plums?
Kim: Located at Capel River – 25km from the fruit growing centre of Donnybrook – we have a reliable source of water, suitable soils and good access to services. This supports production of up to 250 tonnes of plums every season from more than 20,000 trees.
How has this season been?
Kim: This summer’s soaring temperatures have proved challenging, but plums handle it better than some other stonefruit. This season’s first harvest is almost complete and the size and level of sweetness have been very pleasing.
When do you pick the plums?
Kim: We aim to pick the fruit when the sugar levels have risen, but with enough firmness to carry through the system so the consumer gets them in good condition.
What is your favourite way to enjoy plums?
Kim: I love eating a ripe plum straight off the tree – but I know not everyone can do that. For the best flavour, my top tip is to enjoy plums at room temperature or slightly chilled. Most plums at their best have some ‘give’ but are not swishy or waxy, if harvested correctly they are sweet and juicy.
Make the most of juicy plums and bake a Plum Crumble Pie and serve with a great dollop of cream for an impressive afternoon tea or make delicious golden Plum Turnovers with flaky puff pastry.
Did you know? There are around 200 varieties of plums grown in Australia.
Australia is rapidly developing a global reputation as one of the leading players in the modern olive industry. In our latest Coles Magazine, we caught up with Boundary Bend grower Leandro Ravetti who told us how our climate and the latest technology is helping Aussie growers lead the way. Established in 1998, Boundary Bend is Australia’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil. Their world-class groves, cover more than 6240 hectares of pristine farmland in Victoria and produce the award-winning Coles Finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Here is an extract from our interview:
How many trees do you have and how many olives do you harvest annually?
Leandro: We have one of the largest olive groves in the world, with more than 2 million trees planted over the past decade in three different sites. We are expecting to crush some 70,000 tonnes of fruit this coming season.
What makes Australia good for olive growing?
Leandro: Australia has a great diversity of climates, but the Mediterranean weather pattern of our southern states, particularly Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia
with their cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers, is great for growing olives.
Are the olives you use for oil the same as eating olives?
Leandro: As a general rule you can produce oil from any variety of olives and you could pickle any variety of olives, but so-called oil varieties tend to have more oil and these are the ones that are primarily used to produce the extra virgin oil.
Which oils do you use for frying, dipping, dressing and cooking at home?
Leandro: I have a simple rule: If you want to ensure that you are using the best oil possible for your health and well-being, then use freshly squeezed Extra Virgin Olive Oil for everything. It stands up well as a cooking oil and as a dressing oil, and has a wonderful, fresh flavour.
What is your favourite time of year at the groves?
Leandro: Harvest time. Although stressing at times with so many things going on, nothing beats the smell and taste of the fresh new oils of the season.
How long does it take to make oil from harvest to shelf?
Leandro: In Australia we are truly spoilt with fresh olive oil. Most Australian oils in the supermarket will hit the shelves within one to two months, even weeks in some cases,
of being produced. Remember that our harvest in Australia is between April and June, so expect very, very fresh oil from July onwards. It is important to start checking for harvest dates to ensure you are buying the freshest oil possible.
Marinated Vegetables Recipe Idea
- Cut 2 finger eggplant and 2 zucchini lengthways into thin slices. Cut 1 bunch of asparagus spears in half.
- Place in a bowl with 250g button mushrooms and add 1/4 cup Coles Finest Premium Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Toss to coat.
- Heat a char-grill or barbecue on high. Cook vegetables, turning, for 3-5 mins, until charred and beginning to soften.
- Layer vegetables in sterilised jars with thyme sprigs, fetta and rosemary. Add enough olive oil to cover vegetables.
- Seal and store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
A little while ago we told you it was happening and now we’re pleased to say we’ve stopped selling Coles Brand caged eggs & phased out sow stalls in all Coles Brand fresh pork, ham & bacon production.
We know our customers have never been more conscious of animal welfare, so we have been working closely with our suppliers over the last two years to bring you these more humane food choices. The removal of sow stalls from all our fresh Aussie pork and our Coles Brand local and imported ham and bacon will see 34,000 pigs no longer confined in cramped stalls for large parts of their lives. The removal of Coles Brand caged eggs will see 350,000 hens no longer deliver eggs in cramped cages and means our Coles Brand eggs are now all Free Range or Barn Laid (and 100% Australian of course). This is just another way Coles is Helping Australia Grow.
For more information on our sow stall free pork or cage free eggs, visit coles.com.au/helpingaustraliagrow or click play to watch Curtis Stone & our Head of Responsible Sourcing, Jackie Healing discuss our Sow Stall Free Pork & Cage Free Eggs initiatives at Coles.
A member of the lily family, asparagus was prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is said that Caesar requested it served with melted butter – a tradition that continues today. Australian asparagus is grown mostly in the temperate climate of Victoria. Rich in B-group vitamins, asparagus is a great source of folate, essential for pregnant women, and one serve provides over 20 per cent of daily needs. Try asparagus raw, steamed, stir-fried, baked or barbecued, in salads, soups, risotto and pasta. Spears should be firm, bright, smooth and uniformly sized, with closed, compact tips.
Our Grower Says…
“Our asparagus comes from Koo We Rup in Victoria. In warm weather, asparagus spears can grow to a harvestable length in 24 hours – literally overnight!”
Try asparagus with pork, in risotto or in a summer salad with smoked chicken, capsicum and fresh strawberries.
For more information on how to select, store and prepare asparagus, visit the Spring Vegetables section of our produce site at coles.com.au/produce.
Good News! We’re proud to announce our Coles Growers, Wayne and Leanne Born from Bowen in Queensland have won the Horticultural Grower of the Year award for 2012.
Based in the sunny Whitsunday region, Wayne and Leanne won the prestigious award for their early adoption of cutting-edge technology to advance tomato production. Their 270 hectare farm in Bowen, is one of the largest tomato farms in Australia, supplying quality tomatoes to our Coles stores.
Wayne and Leanne have made significant investments in their infrastructure and technology, including a blemish sorter and grader, which has allowed them to harvest a larger quantity of quality tomatoes with minimal wastage.
Congratulations to Wayne, Leanne and the whole team at Koorelah Farms!
At Coles, we pride ourselves on the quality of our fresh fruit and veg, because (as you’ve probably heard) there’s no freshness like Coles freshness! Thanks to our Super Specials, our fruit and vegetables are now even more affordable with prices cut on at least a dozen popular fruit and vegetables every week. These specials are designed to help you and your family enjoy great value, in season produce at affordable prices.
Some of our customers have asked us how we can offer these prices and the good news is that as well as savings for customers, our freshness campaign is also supports our Australian growers who have produced a bumper crop thanks to ideal growing conditions around the country. By offering our customers low prices on fruit and veg, we have increased sales, providing a more certain market for our growers who with such an abundance of product may otherwise end up having to leave crops in the field.
To show you just how quickly we get our fresh products from farm to our stores, Curtis went along to meet our growers!