Tim Sullivan is one of a group of growers from Biloela, Central Queensland that grow herbs and spices for Sunshine Coast based manufacturer Gourmet Garden. Gourmet Garden cleverly package fresh herbs and spices into handy tubes for the domestic and export markets. Their product range provides the convenience of chopped, fresh herbs that can keep for weeks or months in the fridge without spoiling. The fertile soils of Biloela were chosen to grow these herbs and spices as they were found to produce herbs with a high essential oil content, good flavour, colour and aroma.
Tim grows a large variety of different herbs on a 36 hectare organically certified plot. Winter plantings include Coriander, Dill, Parsley and Shallots, while in summer the fields are full of fragrant Lemongrass and Basil.
During the winter months, Tim has rows of Coriander in various stages, with enough plantings this season to provide two trucks a week for nine weeks to the Gourmet Garden production facility in Palmwoods, QLD. Tim has found this seasons coriander to have vigour about it and the colour is right, due to Katek Super Growth of course! We don’t use anything else.
Soil health has a lot to do with growing healthy plants packed full of flavour. For the past four years Tim has been using Katek Super Growth worked into the soil prior to planting to ensure the plants have the nutrients needed for their quick growing cycle. Coriander generally requires 1 ¼ tonnes per hectare, spread over the beds, but with a crop like Basil which has three harvests over the growing period, you can see up to 4 tonnes per hectare being used. To care for the soil, Herbs are only planted every second year in the same ground. Green manure crops are planted in between, to build up organic matter and help feed the soil.
Harvesting requires specialised equipment and is carefully timed to ensure antioxidants and essential oils are at their peak. The harvest is quickly transferred to cold-rooms and from there transferred to refrigerated trucks which take the crop to the Gourmet Gardens production site for processing the