Welcome to another edition of our series, Know the Producer on Your Plate, where we dive deep into the stories and philosophies of the amazing vendors at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market.
In this installment, we had the privilege of chatting with DJ’s Citrus, who have been growing citrus for over 6 decades!
Here’s what they had to say about it.
Name of your business:
DJS Garden Fresh Citrus
How long have you been trading at AHFM?
Our DJS Garden Fresh Citrus stall has been a part of AHFM since day 1 on Saturday 12th December 2009. It is over 12 years ago that we set up along with 43 other stallholders in the carpark of the Mount Barker TAFE for our very first farmer’s market.
What do you appreciate about farmer’s markets?
As we are passionate about producing high quality, very flavoursome and juicy citrus fruit on our 60-year old orchard; we find that its at farmer’s markets where the caring customers are looking for and appreciate the quality of our freshly picked fruit.
Also, the friendly atmosphere of farmer’s markets makes for a delightful, enjoyable environment for marketing our citrus produce.
What does the farmer’s market offer your business?
As the farm of DJS Garden Fresh Citrus is quite small, the farmer’s market provides an economical outlet for the marketing of our citrus.
In 1962, our citrus property was planted at Greenways, Nildottie in the Murraylands of South Australia by Joy’s parents as a small local interest venture alongside their wheat/sheep farm. We found that the yield from our orchard (about 1000 trees) was too small to get a sufficient return from the regional bulk fruit packing sheds and be able to cover costs of maintaining the orchard and living expenses.
Therefore in 2009, we began packaging some of our fruit here on the farm and selling it direct to the customers of the farmer’s market. The market has given us the opportunity to trade as part of a community, which has allowed our stall to build a loyal customer base that provides a regular income.
How do you prepare your products for market?
The continual maintenance and irrigation of the orchard is all attended to by dedicated members of our family. Each year the property is fertilised with organic composted poultry manure and multiple applications of tree nutrients directly to the leaf foliage or through the drip irrigation system.
Many hours each week are spent picking, hand sorting and bagging the fruit right here on the farm to be able to supply the produce as fresh as possible to the market. As we bag our own fruit we are able to reuse our packaging recovered at the market or returned by customers.
Our hand-made fresh juice, citrus inspired baking, jams, marmalades and sauces are all prepared with special attention to food hygiene practices with particular consideration for our gluten free products. We encourage customers to be environmentally aware and we have authority from the Mid-Murray Council for the return of all glass jars and glass bottles purchased at our stall for sterilisation and reuse.
What message would you like to give to the Adelaide Hills community about our market?
The AHFM offers a wonderful, friendly food shopping experience to everyone living in the Adelaide Hills. Our committed stallholders offer a great selection of best in class fresh produce, while providing the added bonus of allowing the customer to meet the grower/producer and chat about their food choices.