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By JAMIE-LEE OLDFIELD
ESPITE giving up their
Sunday sleep-ins and
Saturday nights out, Pat
D'Onofrias (pictured) and Lina
Verelli love their job.
Trading as Patlin Gardens, the
couple has been producing table
olives, olive oil and a wide range of
vegetables for the weekly Adelaide
Showgrounds Farmers Market for
about three years.
Farming on 7 hectares in the
Virginia area, Pat's family has been
producing vegetables on the proper-
ty since 1963
Pat and Lina returned in 1993
and, because of poor vegetable
prices and an unstable market,
decided to move to olive growing.
They now incorporate the two
ventures. Having only one or two
lines of produce is not feasible when
the main outlet is a farmers' market.
Patlin Gardens is not an organic
property because of its location, but
is pesticide-free and only natural
tonics and sprays are used.
Pat has found that by moving away
from pesticides, the plants build
their strength up allowing them to
fight pests naturally, and predatory
pest eaters are also more prevalent.
He also monitors soil regularly and
believes it contains a high number of
microbes as it has not been sterilised
Pat says that although all aspects of
his business have unforeseen diffi-
culties, they have found a really good
outlet for their produce.
"The market for our type of pro-
duce is unbelievable -- customers are
appreciating the food and getting it
at a reasonable price, so it has really
started to snowball," he said.
"We give our customers premium
produce as well as passing on our
knowledge of the things we sell to
With just 2000 olive trees, value-
adding is very important. Pat and
Lina process their own table olives
This increases the price of their
olives from about $1.40 a kilogram
to more than $8/kg, but also creates
considerably more work, especially
because of their chemical-free pro-
cessing system, in which the harshest
substance used is salt.
The farm's olives for oil are taken
to a nearby contractor for processing,
but are sold exclusively at the farm-
Pat says that although they can
produce above extra virgin quality,
distributors and wholesalers still pay
Patlin Gardens supplies premium
Produce exclusively sold at
Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers
Diversification crucial for market
Pesticide, chemical free production
PATLIN Gardens has been using permaculture to produce vegetables for about
three years, with positive results.
Permaculture, or permanent agriculture, is the concept of developing produc-
tive farming systems which have a similar diversity, stability and resilience as
It aims to work closely with the natural functions of the land and allows it to
produce more than the single yield which is usually demanded.
Patlin Gardens plants its vegetable crops between rows of olive trees, utilis-
ing space, fertiliser and water outputs as much as possible.
It also grows a wide range of different vegetables, including beetroot, carrot,
lettuce, broccoli, sweetcorn and garlic, because with only four hours a week to
sell its produce, diversity is the key.
Permaculture key to efficient,
sustainable veggie growing
• more on next page
Patlin Gardens grows its vegetable crops between olive trees to utilise
resources and diversify output.
"Eco-Ag...Way to Grow!"
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