• Av. temp 21.45o
  • Population 71,000
  • Farms 5

Ross Brindley

Bundaberg, QLD

How did you come to be a grower?
I guess you could say it’s just in my blood. I was born on the farm and have always liked the farm, I like being outside and being in the beautiful climate. My parents started the growing business in passionfruit, which I have now bought out since they have retired, and it’s something different. No one else in the area is doing it, and from a business viability standpoint, it’s quite profitable. I’m a 2nd generation grower and have been in this industry for over 15 years now.   

What makes you proud to be an Australian grower?
Knowing we grow the cleanest and best quality green fruit. It’s a good, albeit small, industry with good people who communicate a lot so that we create an open forum to discuss new growing techniques to remain progressive in our line of work. 
It a line of work that allows you to set the tone and pace, and I choose to take on a very hands on approach. This means I run the farm and the packaging shed. I do what needs to be done and don’t treat myself differently to all the other guys who work with me, because if I don’t do it myself, how can I expect others to follow me?

We have a young growers’ program – what advice would you give the next generation of growers?
It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and lot of resilience. Sometimes the expected financial gains are not always there, but the rewards doesn’t always have to come in that form. To be able to plant a plant, and watch it come to maturity to become the country’s best quality fruit, then for it go out to the public – that is very satisfying. Know that the rewards more times than not, will always offset the input.

If you do decided to be a part of this industry, be committed, because there is no such thing as part time farming.

What do you see in your future with growing Passionfruit?
I’m really just enjoying what I’m doing now, but I would see myself continuing to grow good quality fruits and focus on what I’m good at. In my eyes, it’s a very viable industry. We have a great reputation for our quality fruits, and we’re lucky to have Australians who support and buy local produce. 

People often think all fruits are created the same, but in reality, quality is hard to produce, can you tell us the hard work that goes behind the cultivation?
Passionfruit is particularly hard to grow – every year is different, every year the weather changes. Too much rain is problematic. In 2011 and 2013, we had floods, which resulted in a lot of vine deaths, which in turn reduced the yield and cash flow, which proved to have a severe flow on effect because upkeep of the farm requires investment to ensure it is properly maintained to produce the quality expected by the market. The vines are very temperamental, if you don’t look after them properly, you just don’t get good fruit. So looking after them, applying the right amount fertilisers at the right timing is crucial.

What do you do to unwind?
I take a holiday once year. I like camping in the outback. Seems I can’t stay away from the outdoors.