GrowersDirect Pty Ltd
GrowersDirect Pty Ltd also known as Great Roots and is owned operated by Keith Platt. Keith is also a Director of United Growers Pty Ltd. Keith has worked with the Board to ensure that the Warwick Farm Trackside Market has direction; he wants it to be a welcoming market for both shoppers and stallholders. For approximately three years also prepared the weekly news letter on behalf of the company.
The Growersdirect story started as a distribution point for tomatoes grown on the property in Tamworth. The Tamworth property was operated as a managed investment on behalf of various rural investment schemes. One of the channels of distribution was to restaurants and cafes and also to the evolving Farmers’ Markets that were springing up in most regions of Sydney and rural NSW. Whilst attending one of these markets (Warwick Farm which was then run by The NSW Farmers Federation), I met a bloke running a stand next to mine. He turned out to be Graham Liney Willowvale Potatoes. I was fascinated with the wide choice of potatoes that he had. I just thought that a spud was spud! Graham asked me to follow up Una’s Cafe in the eastern suburbs that was trying to get hold of a style of potato that they could use for rösti. Graham was too far away from Sydney to handle a delivery system to restaurants so he asked me to follow them up. So I did. The potato was Nicola and within a matter of weeks I was delivering over a tonne of potatoes (and tomatoes to match) each week. Well the word was out. If you wanted yellow flesh potatoes then go to Growersdirect! And the restaurant list grew; as did the produce range that came from other growers at the Warwick Farm market.
In January 2007, Shane Roberts took over the restaurant providoring under the banner Growersdirect2U. That left me time to develop potato knowledge. With Graham’s guidance I took on three varieties that Saatzucht-Lange (a potato breeding farm) from Germany had sent to Graham some years before. These varieties are Serafina, Bernadette and Jacqueline. Soon these yellow-flesh potatoes will be a feature as washed potatoes at selected retail outlets. Serafina is a salad potato displaying firm cooking characteristics; Bernadette is an all-purpose potato and Jacqueline is a roasting or mashing potato. Other varieties from this breeder will be selected in the future with one in quarantine at the moment.
Growersdirect Pty Ltd retains Agronico Pty Ltd to act as their research laboratory to trial all varieties to determine optimum nutrient, soil type & water requrements, location and resistance to pests. Today, Graham and I operate Great Roots and Willowvale Potatoes as branding for our yellow-flesh potato varieties servicing the needs of potato merchants and agents. As a piece of history, just about every new variety of potato that has been commercialised or registered in Australia over the last 25 years is Graham’s doing. These varieties include Pink Fir Apple, Almera, all the Golden Wonder range, King Edward, Charlotte, Rosevale, Belle de Fontenay, Nicola, Desiree, Saxon, Carlingford, Saphire, Aura…. and the list goes on. In the near future, work we are doing with the University of Sydney will result in a range of suitable potatoes that can be eaten by diabetics and approved by the Glycemic Index Symbol Program.
By the way…
We also make the best pasta sauce!!!!!
Keith Platt – June 2008
Growersdirect Pty Ltd