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Cambooya horticulture producer turns over new leaf in salad market

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Family-owned, fourth generation business Story Fresh is turning over a new leaf in the salad industry with state-of-the-art processing technology to ensure high quality salad products fill consumer plates.

Story Fresh

Geoffrey Story

For more than 30 years, Story Fresh have specialised in the year-round production of ready-to-eat leafy vegetable products across their four farms in the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs.

Story Fresh was one of 15 businesses to receive a grant of up to $250,000 under Round Three of the Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant program which is administered by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).

Managing Director Geoffrey Story said the funding would be put towards completing their $11 million processing facility by building an adjoining sorting room to help guarantee the highest quality of fresh cut leafy salads.

“The dedicated sorting room will house a $1 million multi-spectrum electronic sorter which removes foreign material and discoloured leaves from baby leaf products and so will guarantee food safety and premium quality for the burgeoning domestic and export markets for baby leaf,” Mr Story said.

“The new baby leaf sorter will operate at up to 1,500 kilograms per hour.

“The completion of this project will greatly increase capacity in our baby leaf processing line and enable us to meet the growing demands of new customers."

Mr Story said with the whole processing facility complete, Story Fresh hoped to increase their annual contribution to Australia’s baby leaf market.

“The baby leaf market has grown strongly over the last 20 years and is now a $580 million market in Australia,” Mr Story said.

“Story Fresh currently supplies less than one per cent of the Australia baby leaf market. With the new processing facility, we hope to boost this to three per cent over the next three to five years.”

The project is expected to create up to 37 direct and indirect jobs during and post construction of the sorting room.

The Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The $10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.

A total of 15 businesses have received $3.14 million under the third round of funding for the RED Grants program. Overall, these projects are expected to create more than 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.

Across the three rounds of the RED Grant program, a total of 43 agricultural businesses have received funding toward economic development projects worth $40.8 million and estimated to create 1,897 new direct and indirect jobs over the lifetime of these projects.

QRIDA offers a range of assistance to primary producers, small business and non-profit organisations. To find out what’s available visit Programs and Services.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

 

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Business Primary producer
Darling Downs

Last updated: 08 August 2022