AJS Pierson & Son
Almonds have pride of place with Piersons
IT’S nearly 60 years since the Pierson family bought primary production acreage at Virginia on the Adelaide Plains, north of South Australia’s capital city.
Trading as AJS Pierson & Son, the father/son almond growing operation headed by Jim and Ben Pierson, has deep roots in the horticulture industry.
The Piersons are fifth generation primary producers, with early origins heralding from a wide array of market garden crops grown at Campbelltown in what is now Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs.
That land was bought out for development, necessitating the shift north, to an area known today for its flat, seemingly endless plateau of rich horticultural soil and abundant water supply.
It wasn’t always that way.
“This was all mallee farm land, we’ve done a hell of a lot to it since,” Jim said.
Starting out predominantly in potatoes and celery, the Piersons and a handful of other local growers learned the nation was importing almonds to meet consumption demands.
They committed a small parcel of land to an almond plantation.
Following the first harvest, where they laboriously hand knocked the trees, Jim and three other farmers including industry pioneer, Fred Keane, teamed up to purchase a mechanical harvester each, and worked as a group to get their crops in.
The mini co-operative was key to their respective growth.
“It worked extremely well, and we all gradually planted more almonds and bought more equipment,” Jim said.
The following years were spent gradually transitioning out of potatoes and celery and into almonds.
“We’d done celery for 40 years, it was tough and demanding labour-wise,” Jim explained.
“Plus it clashed with growing almonds.”
While it sounds a simple call to make, almond plantings take several years before producing, invoking a reasonable level of risk, especially with the almond market in its cognitive years.
Keane, a member of the Almond Grower Co-operative Committee, floated the idea of Almondco’s grower-owned marketing and processing facility, which was built near Renmark. Read more at- http:/www.almondco.com.au/1921-2/ #almondco #australianalmonds #coop Thanks @pearson_les - 3 days ago