It’s a family affair at the Le Fresh farm, where husband and wife duo Van and Tracey Le and their daughter Teresa grow crunchy cucumbers and succulent cherry tomatoes. Located just north of Adelaide in Virginia, SA – a vibrant vegie-growing region of Australia – Le Fresh Hydroponics incorporates a 3-hectare protected greenhouse and a state-of-the-art packing facility, where they ensure all produce is of the highest quality before packing it for delivery.
That’s where LaManna Premier Group comes in –we are exclusive partners of Le Fresh Produce, supporting them in the areas of marketing, distribution, quality and technical advice . As well as bringing their top-quality continental cucumbers and cherry tomatoes to supermarkets and fruit stores around the country. LPG analyses what people are buying to create forecasts of future demand, which the team at Le Fresh then use to determine what they grow and in what quantities. This method of growing to market requirements results in a more sustainable supply chain, with less produce going to waste.
Sustainability is fundamental at the Le Fresh farm: Van and Tracey are forerunners in hydroponic farming and were among the first to bring it to the region when they started out some ten years ago. This farming technique cuts out soil, instead delivering a nutrient-rich water-based solution directly to plant roots, leading to a dramatic reduction in the amount of water required. For example, field-grown tomatoes require 400 litres of water to produce one kilo of fruit, while hydroponically grown tomatoes need only 70 litres to produce that amount. The protected environment of the greenhouse also significantly improves farming efficiency by shielding the plants from adverse weather conditions and harmful bugs that can damage the fruit, minimising the amount of wasted produce. After growing their produce sustainably, the Le family strives to pack it sustainably too: their packing facility is currently trialling a cherry tomato punnet made from cardboard instead of plastic.
Our ongoing partnership brings great benefit to both sides: LPG can rely on Le Fresh’s supply of high-quality produce, while Tracey and Van are provided with all the support they need – not only to keep their farm running at its best, but also to experiment and expand in new and exciting directions.
And experimenting is something of a passion at the Le Fresh farm. Tracey in particular loves putting her background in chemistry to use in breeding new plant strains – some of which may be more resilient to temperature variations, for example, or have a fuller flavour. She is joined in this pursuit by her daughter Teresa, who has followed in her mother’s footsteps, recently graduating with a Bachelor of Science majoring in chemistry. She shares Tracey’s passion for testing and developing new strains, with Van stepping in as their chief taste tester: “We all end up being guinea pigs for these new varieties – we have to try them to know if they’re any good!” Van is also training Teresa up in the business side of things, excited for her to take over as the family’s successor in future.
So when you’re next at the shop, keep your eyes peeled for Australian grown fruit and vegetables, and rest assured that Australian growers like Van, Tracey and Teresa, together with LPG, are putting in their all to bring you the crunchiest cucumber and the most flavoursome cherry tomato possible.