Warm up winter with lentils | Rabobank Australia Client
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#ThankAFarmer: Warm up winter with lentils

Nothing beats a nice, hot meal on a cold winter’s day, making it a great time to dine on lentils – they are the perfect ingredient for heart-warming and healthy soups, casseroles and curries, and they grow in abundance in Australia.

Lentil grower Marty Collins said only one percent of Australia’s lentil crop is currently consumed locally, with the remaining 99 percent bound for the export market.

So we can easily supply all the lentils that Australians want,” he added.

Marty and his wife Anne grow 1200 to 1800 hectares of lentils each year at Rosevale Properties, on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Marty, a former sheep producer, and Anne branched out on their own with Rosevale Properties in 1994 and made the move into growing lentils in 1999.

“That was in the days when you just didn’t make money with sheep, so we made the move into lentils to support the family,” Marty said.

“Since then, we have been passionate about growing lentils. That’s our core business and we grow them every year through thick and thin.”

About two-and-a-half years ago, Marty took that passion further, establishing an online retail business, Rosevale Lentils, with Anna Phasey, whose husband Nathan is the farm manager of Rosevale Properties.

The move allows consumers to buy the Collins family’s lentils directly from the online store, with products ranging from bulk lentils to hot and mild curry kits, lentil protein balls and even brownie kits.

While the family continues to export the majority of their lentils and also supply Foodland supermarkets in South Australia, Marty said Rosevale Lentils was a convenient and safe way for all Australians to buy lentils, especially during COVID-19.

“We have noticed that since COVID-19 our sales have picked up a bit, but we have been able to keep up with demand,” he said.

That’s despite facing the major challenge of losing their usual packaging company because of COVID-19.

“Our products were being packed at Bedford Industries in Adelaide, but they had to downsize the amount of customers they could service when they reduced their operation during COVID-19,” Marty said.

“But we had the packaging and all the ingredients we needed, so we started packing them ourselves, adhering to normal health regulations and social distancing requirements.”

Describing both himself and business partner Anna as ‘foodies’, Marty is quick to extol the benefits of lentils.

“They are healthy, gluten free, high in protein and grown locally!” he said.

 

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