The Produce Index: Peninsula Fresh Organics

Published on August 15 2019.

Photo: Peninsula Fresh Organics chard

Fifth-generation market gardener Wayne Shields and wife Tash have embraced organics and grown their business through grassroots marketing and distribution.

What
A vast range of 50 truly seasonal vegetables from vibrant Asian greens to full-flavoured broccoli, crunchy Savoy cabbage and an array of heirloom carrots. Right now brassicas such as cabbages and cauliflowers are at their best.

Where
The original Peninsula Fresh Organics farm started off as one-and-a-half hectares of free-draining sandy soil between Somerville and Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. This has expanded to 16 hectares with another 40 leased on the banks of the Murray at Barham.

Who
Wayne and Tash Shields took over Wayne’s parents’ market garden in 2009. Natasha left her career in IT and, together, the couple followed a path of growing vegetables using organic soil management and pest control.

Why it’s different
The Shields don’t use greenhouses, meaning what you buy from them is truly seasonal. The vegetables are fertilised with composted manures and their own blend of fermented liquid fertiliser. Punters will notice that Peninsula Fresh vegetables maintain their just-picked quality for days and days.

Who’s a fan?
“Their vegetables are delicious,” says Matt Wilkinson, co-owner of Pope Joan and author of Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables. “Try their heirloom carrots. They are sensational. Poach them in butter or make anchovy dip and serve them as a crudité. Or roast whole carrots, chop them up and serve with pumpkin seeds and chilli oil.”

Buy
Direct from Peninsula Fresh Organics Farm Gate, 6 Hendersons Rd, Baxter. Find them at Apple and Sage Organic Wholefoods, Balwyn; Edithvale Community Grocer; Parkdale Community Grocer; or at 24 farmers’ markets across Victoria. Visit peninsulafresh.com for details.

By Richard Cornish