Aussie Pride Produce – glasshouse expansion23/12/2020
Something you don’t see every day – rows and rows of tiny hydroponic lettuces germinated under LED lighting that emits a purple haze better suited to a dancefloor than a custom-built glasshouse facility.
Located just outside of Shepparton, Rob and Ilse Rutten are experienced primary producers originally hailing from the Netherlands who have brought their expertise to Victorian soil. They have operated their hydroponic farming business since 2014 and due to its success, are now the midst of a massive expansion of their Tallygaroopna facility.
With help from the Victorian Government through the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, the company is undertaking an investment of $2.5 million to expand its glasshouse growing facility, growing its production area from 1,500 to 10,000 square metres.
The additional capacity will allow the company to increase outputs to over 250,000 boxes (that’s two million head of lettuce and baby wombok) per year as well as creating 10 new jobs. The project will also enable Rob and Ilse to broaden their product offering to include herbs.
At present, the business operates with seven full-time staff plus seasonal workers and produces an assortment of vegetables including boutique lettuce and white asparagus which are supplied to restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues across Melbourne and Victoria.
While the agribusiness has had a rollercoaster year – like others across the region – the Rutten family is confident that the expansion will bring new opportunities particularly once hospitality businesses reopen and business resumes.