Australian Fresh Leaf expansion

With growing operations established in Melbourne, Victoria, and Bundaberg and Mareeba in Queensland, herb grower Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH) is on track to expand production in the Northern Territory with planting currently underway in Darwin’s rural area.

Established in 2008, Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs is one of Australia’s leading herb growers and distributors. Managing Directors Jan Vydra and William Pham have developed the business from humble beginnings and now produce more than 100,000 bunches of 17 different herbs and salad items weekly for major retailers, independent supermarkets, green grocers and the hospitality industry.

Consumer interest and the demand for fresh produce led them to develop and implement a sustainable, efficient production process combining hydroponic and traditional farming, whilst also supporting more than 40 other growers nationally by assisting with training and development of hydroponic operations. This allows them to provide consumers with quality herbs all year round, as certain herbs are suited to warmer conditions.

To support the supply chain, Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs developed an innovative delivery system for all key stakeholders to utilise. This has improved efficiencies, productivity and the reporting structure for agents, distributors, retailers and growers.

Jan Vydra says he’s optimistic the Darwin expansion will fill gaps in the winter supply. The four crops being trialed are basil, mint, sage and tarragon – plants that miss out on the sunlight and warmth that they need during the southern winter months.

“We struggle with those four crops on the east coast as far as production goes, so we’re just testing the waters up here to see if we can produce them better,” he says.

“We’re planting about a hectare of each. It’s a lot of maintenance looking after four hectares of herbs.”

Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs represents its products to the consumer under the ‘Garnished Flavours’ brand. This will continue to develop over the coming months with development in a variety of retail outlets.

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