are a number of vegetable seed suppliers who select promising cultivar
seed lines from Europe and America and run assesment trials on local
Seed companies and Nurseries work together to evaluate the seasonal performance
and uniformity of new cultivars on a semi-commercial scale.
The decision of which cultivar to grow is often based on the outcome
of these trials. Independent nurseries operating throughout Victoria supply more than
70% of vegetable seedlings to growers.
Some growers also produce
their own seedlings.
accounts for 27% of Australia’s total vegetable production and
is Victorias second largest horticultural industry (after potatoes),
worth in excess of $500 million per annum.
The industry is made up of
professional growers who operate across the state, in areas where water
is available for irrigation.
Growers incorporate quality assurance systems and best management practices,
demonstrating their commitment to the production of clean, green and
safe food. Most vegetable growers use a HACCP system, such as SQF
2000 or ISO 9002
Most harvesting of vegetable products is mechanised,
however there are some products that require labour intensive practices. For
a quality product to reach the customer, growers must ensure that harvesting
takes place at the optimum time and temperature and mechanical damage
by harvesting equipment is minimal.
Processed and consumer-ready products are becoming increasingly
popular and are adding value to the industry. Vegetables have a very high water content (ranging from
70-75% for potatoes to 90-95% for lettuce and celery) and therefore require
good handling and management practices during harvesting, postharvest,
packaging, storage and marketing to maintain product quality Postharvest practices mainly involve the trimming and
washing of bulk product.
Most vegetable products are sorted into size grades and
packed in boxes ready for marketing.
All products are cool stored to maintain moisture content
Vegetable products leave the producers property by road
freight, destined for the domestic or export markets. All products
are chilled prior to loading
Product destined for the domestic market is sold locally
and interstate through wholesalers or delivered direct by growers. The
main market paths are Fresh, Processing, and Export.Vegetable processing in Victoria and involves canning,
pickling, freezing and fresh-cut operations.
Local grocers buy fresh produce from growers and wholesalers at Melbourne Markets – Footscray. Growers can market their produce direct to the public
at roadside stalls and local Farmers Markets. Supermarkets distribution centres are supplied direct
by growers or through wholesalers.