About us

Boyhood dream

Not everyone gets to take his boyhood dream and turn it into a reality, but Graeme Pitchford is doing exactly that. The son of an accountant and youngest of three boys, all he can remember is "wanting to be a vegetable grower". While he is a 6th generation vegetable grower (down his father’s mother’s line), he began Pitchford Produce at 18 years of age in 1989 with only the knowledge gained from Urrbrae Agricultural High School and 6 months work with a grower from the Adelaide Hills. He had no experience, no equipment, no market contacts but he had a passion for growing. That passion continues as strong as ever today.

Those early years were hard as he tried different lines and gradually built relationships with Pooraka Market wholesalers. He quickly found how difficult it is to grow different vegetables, learn the required specifications, and find markets for the vegetables. In 1999, Graeme formed a grower marketing relationship that enabled him to enter into supply schedules and fixed prices. The first product under that system was Broccolini and the relationship with Perfection Fresh has grown stronger each year. In 2005 Graeme won the Perfection grower of the year award and travelled to America as part of the prize. Whilst in America Graeme and his wife Mandy attended the PMA (Produce Marketing Association) international conference and visited the vast Salinas Valley and met with Broccolini and lettuce growers.

Graeme, now a published professional, keeps up to date in the industry through participating in studies and following the latest research. One example is the intentional flowering at the end of the broccolini’s life cycle, encouraging beneficial wasps, which decrease the pest population.

Graeme and Mandy live on the farm with their children Eliza, Meg, Oli and maintain a hands on approach to the operation. Graeme pays particular attention to the life of the soil, water conservation and plant health.

There are only 12 growers Australia wide growing the trade marked Broccolini which is a cross between Kale and Broccoli and Pitchford Produce is the only grower in South Australia.