30/11/2020

Mark Pye searched the country for the premium location for his farm, and found it in the Mallee region of South Australia.

Man with fruit produce

The Pye Group director, who oversees the Parilla Premium Potatoes and Zerella Fresh brands, identified the right combination of a hot and dry climate, biosecurity and available water to allow them to build their production of potatoes, carrots and onions.

It is a landscape that has helped them to achieve 17 per cent of the national market share of washed potatoes, 24 per cent of Australia’s carrots and 27 per cent of onions.

“Our family philosophy is, think big and keep it simple,” Pye says.

“Instead of growing 20 or 30 different lines we grow three, and grow volume and specialise (such as low-carb potato options and tasty breeds from the Netherlands). We can specialise in the equipment and agronomy.

“Where we are has the right environment and conditions. It ticked all the boxes.”

The Pyes are in the process of planning a new $35m packing facility, to be completed by mid 2021, which will allow them to boost production up to 50 per cent. It could also allow a great capacity for export, currently 5 per cent of the business.

“At the moment we are maxxed out with our packing facility; that will allow us to double our capacity,” he says.

“That will also allow us to export.”

Pictured, Pye Group director Mark Pye. Photo by Tait Schmaal

This article originally appeared in The Australian's Future Adelaide Special Report.