My cucumbers rule
ONE local farmer will be appearing on the small screen in the coming week or so showing what Northern Rivers horticulture has to offer.
Wardell cucumber farmer and Coles produce supplier Carlo Pippo was sel- ected as one of six growers and Coles produce suppliers to appear on the most popular show currently on television, cooking competition show My Kitchen Rules.
Mr Pippo was approached to appear on behalf of Coles in content specifically created for My Kitchen Rules (Coles is a sponsor of the show).
For his big TV appearance, he was filmed working on the farm and carrying a tray of cucumbers, as well as shots in the studio, Mr Pippo said.
"When they first called me, I thought they were joking to be honest with you," he said.
"But we had a great day and I really enjoyed the experience."
My Kitchen Rules is currently the most popular show on Australian television, averaging about 2.6 million viewers compared to the comparatively tiny 567,000 viewers watching Masterchef: The Professionals.
Mr Pippo said it was lucky for them to be picked as one of the six, and believed it was a great move for the farmers of the Northern Rivers.
"For us to be picked out of the middle of nowhere; well, lot of people don't even know we're here."
Mr Pippo's farm consists of 40ha of hot houses on his 64ha property, where he grows cucumbers under his business Fresh@Heart, all year round.
They used to grow tomatoes as well, but a couple of years back decided to stick to cucumbers.
He gets up at 4am every day and goes to work on the farm with his staff of about 30 people.
Together they produce five semitrailers of cucumbers for Coles each week, Mr Pippo said.
His father bought the farm in 1981 and began supplying to Coles 26 years ago, Mr Pippo said, and now it's his baby.
"I love it - it's my life," he said.
"It's my hobby, my passion, it's just something I've done, and every day's a new thing, a new challenge.
"I miss it when I'm not here."
Coles Fresh Produce Category Manager Timothy Walsh said Mr Pippo and his family business were nominated by Coles because of their strong work ethic and quality product.
"Growers such as Carlo at Fresh@Heart are vital to ensuring Australians have excellent fresh local food to buy at Coles," Mr Walsh said.
"And it's our belief in these farmers which drives our efforts to source Australian grown food when ever and wherever possible."