Australian farmers face biggest carrot oversupply in 25 years

Australian farmers face biggest carrot oversupply in 25 years


Farm Online News
Australia is facing its largest carrot oversupply in 25 years. Photo: Kalfresh

Australia is facing its largest carrot oversupply in 25 years. Photo: Kalfresh

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Carrot foams, carrot consomme and carrot vodka are being made as Australia faces one if its largest carrot oversupplies.

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Australia's biggest carrot oversupply in 25 years has prompted farmers, along with chefs and winemakers, to get creative and use the popular vegetable in foams, consommes and infuse it in vodka.

Carrot farmers are faced with the tough decision of what to do with the excess of carrots while wanting to avoid the product, hailed as the second most purchased vegetable in Australia, ending up as food waste.

Carrot farm Kalfresh in Queensland's Scenic Rim has paddocks full of excess carrots, and director and farmer Rob Hinrichsen has said he has never seen Australia's carrot market as bad as it currently is.

Mr Hinrichsen put the excess in vegetables down to optimal growing conditions, big crop yields and Russia's ban on European imports for having a domino effect on the world carrot market.

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"It seems there's been a perfect storm of events which have led to an absolutely flooded Australian carrot market," Mr Hinrichsen said.

One solution to use up excess and "wonky" carrots unsuitable for sale was the creation of carrot vodka.

Alice Gorman and Gen Windley from Kalfresh teamed up with a winemaker to create the carrot vodka which Ms Gorman described as clean and refreshing with a hint of carrot flavour.

Restaurants have also helped farmers get through excess carrots by juicing, roasting and turning the vegetable into a foam to compliment items on their menus.

Rydges South Bank Brisbane executive assistant manager Dominic Rose said the hotel's restaurant Bacchus were making the most of the oversupply.

"We were in the process of changing the menu and just lightening it up for spring and we put a duck dish on there and it's a duck ravioli but it's got a consomme that goes with it," he said.

"When you make it you put carrots through there as it gives you that nice amber colour.

"Then the dish sort of evolved and the chef that was in the restaurant was working with it and we ended up putting a carrot foam on there and grilled carrots as well."

Mr Rose said carrots were no boring vegetable and added complexity to dishes.

Jarrod Strauch, spokesman for Australia's peak industry body for vegetable industries Ausveg, said several carrot growers were facing tough decisions about what to do with their crops in the face of the oversupply.

"In times of oversupply in the domestic market, export-ready growers can turn to these overseas markets as another way to sell their produce," Mr Strauch said.

"We also participate in a range of initiatives that are looking to increase domestic demand for vegetables and help create a bigger market for Australian growers."

Mr Strauch encouraged Australians to support local growers and shop locally.

"Buying local means you'll be getting the highest quality fresh produce that money can buy, and it means you're helping to support Australian farmers and workers, as well as regional communities, by ensuring our industry continues to grow."

Kalfresh will open its doors to the public in October to welcome them to the farm to pick carrots.

Mr Hinrichsen said farmers had been faced with the tough choice of either harvest the carrots and lose money or plough perfectly good carrots into the ground.

"Let's turn a negative into a positive," he said.

"We hate waste and we hate seeing the efforts of farming amount to nothing.

"We are saying to people - come and visit our farm, have a country experience, meet the farmers, sit in the tractors and pick your own carrots.

"We hope people who love their carrots will come and support us through what is a pretty dire situation."

Kalfresh also has a Just Veg carrot range, which adds value to the company's crop.

Kalfresh's Carrot(astrophe) Day will be on Saturday, October 7, from 8.30am to 2pm at Kalbar, about an hour south-west of Brisbane - booking tickets is recommended.

Brisbane Times

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