Works at: Koala Farms

Location: Gatton, QLD

Hi Austin, thank you for your time today!

Firstly, can you please tell us about Koala Farms and the produce that is grown? 

Koala Farms was started by Anthony Staatz in 1990. Anthony is a fifth-generation grower and started out leasing land off his father to grow tomatoes.

Thirty years down the track, we now have over 80 employees farming 1,500 acres on the Darling Downs and in the Lockyer Valley, producing iceberg lettuce, baby cos, gem cos, broccoli, spinach, rocket, and a few melons.

What are you up to now? As Farm Manager at Koala Farms, what are your responsibilities?

I work alongside two other farm managers. As a Farm Manager, I get to oversee all the production process involved in growing, harvesting, packing, and transporting our products. I work closely with our crew leaders who run our nursery, planting, harvesting, packing and logistics teams.

At the moment, I am very hands on with the irrigation, fertilising and spray side of things. We have a great team of young fellas that carry out our day to day plans.

What has changed for you over the past three years since we last spoke to you for Vegetables Australia?

When we last spoke, I was just getting into the growing side of the farm as Baby Leaf Crew Leader. Learning how to grow spinach and rocket from start to finish, as well as getting to do most of the sales and marketing, has been a really good stepping stone and taught me a lot of skills that are required for my new role as (trainee) Farm Manager. I still do a lot of the things I did before, just on a much bigger and broader scale.

What have you learnt about the vegetable industry over that time?  

I have learnt a lot in the last 3-4 years. Four years ago, I was a mechanic that couldn’t keep flowers alive in the front yard and now I grow salad for a living.

One of the first things I learnt was how big and supportive the vegetable industry is, and how willing people are to share their experiences and knowledge.

Besides the obvious of learning how to grow products, learning and understanding the market and chain stores supply and demand has been a big one for me. I have also learnt a lot around people management and the best ways to make your team as productive as possible.

Where can you be found when not working on the farm?

I have a young family, so I try to spend as much time with them as I can. They love visiting Poppy’s farm, where we have cows, sheep, pigs, chooks and a few acres of melons.

One last thing – where can we find out more about Koala Farms?

You can find out more about Koala Farms – and read about how Anthony started his business – on our website. Our Facebook page can also be found here.