With a firm focus on innovation and branding, Managing Director James Rattray has positioned grower‐marketer Flowerdale Farm at the forefront of the specialty produce revolution. James’ desire to develop creative food ideas that appeal to modern tastes is the result of his experience in both agriculture and hospitality.
The son of Charles and Catherine Rattray, the first growers in Australia to commercially wholesale Alfalfa Sprouts and Snow Pea Shoots, James was exposed at an early age to hydroponic farming. Following his interest in hospitality, James managed several Melbourne restaurants in his early career, before returning to the family business. These strong links with both growers and the hospitality industry have helped set Flowerdale Farm apart from its competitors.
In nurturing these relationships James aims to position Flowerdale Farm not just as a grower and wholesaler of produce, but an integral partner in the development of new products and culinary concepts. James’ unique strategy has positioned Flowerdale Farm as a leader in the hydroponic fresh produce industry. James was nominated for The Weekly Times Coles Farmer of the Year Award 2013 and Flowerdale Farm was one of 5 national finalists for the PMA Fresh Produce Marketer of the Year Award. Under James’ leadership Flowerdale Farm was also nominated for an AUSVEG Innovative Marketing Award in 2014.
In March this year Flowerdale Farm in partnership with Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH) launched a state‐of‐the‐ art hydroponic greenhouse. The greenhouse features Dutch‐designed rolling benches and sophisticated cloud technology, with large screens mounted to tell employees exactly when and what herbs to plant, pick and pack. This urban farming model aims to increase yields by around 75%. This innovative new development is the first time in Australia’s horticulture industry that a small business has introduced new cloud technology and rolling benches into a climate controlled greenhouse to grow herbs.