Source: Food&Beverage – Danielle Bowling

A NSW beetroot farmer has bought most of the processing lines from the collapsed Windsor Farm Foods cannery in an effort to establish his own vegetable processing facility. Ed Fagan said both Woolworths and buys urged him to make the investment. “The first thing is that we have had Woolworths knocking on our door telling us to do it,” he said, according to the ABC. “That gives you confidence.”

The Windsor Farm Foods cannery in Cowra went into voluntary administration earlier this year, sacking more than 70 workers and leaving many local growers shortchanged including Fagan, who was left with $200,000 worth of beetroot uncontracted. Fagan says investing in his own processing facility will give him more control of the supply chain.

“For 70 years we’ve been growing things that have ended up going to someone else who’s preserved it or chopped it up or something else and on-sold. “We believe there is a future in value-adding and we are looking at taking that value-added step,” he said. Another farmer determined to have more control over how his produce is handled and sold is Tony Galati, one of Western Australia’s biggest fruit and vegetables growers. Galati recently launched his own big-box liquor store, the Liquor Shed, aiming to take on the supermarket duopoly and promote WA wine makers.