Mt Barker, SA

The Samwell family have been growing premium quality Brussels sprout in the Adelaide region, South Australia, for over 60 years. They started out as market gardeners in the Adelaide Hills, growing everything from potatoes and parsnips to gooseberries and apples. But it's the sprout they've hung onto for all these years.

Father-son dynamic duo Scott and Kent lead the growing operation, and Eastbrook Vegetable Farms has become one of the largest producers of Brussels sprout in Australia. Leigh and Jamie Samwell in sales and marketing, as well as Luke who heads up engineering and maintenance, complete the family team. With many years of experience passed down through six generations, Scott focuses on continuous improvement through cover crops and innovation with new lines such as Kalettes, which are a red kale crossed with green sprout. These were introduced two seasons ago, and their popularity with consumers continues to grow.

“We want to be sustainable. And all of the sons that are working here, we've all got children. We'd like this to keep on farming, this land. We know the farm and the soil intimately and we want to preserve what we've got here because I think it's important for the future, not only of our kids, but also for farming in Australia.” – Scott Samwell, ABC Landline, 1 June 2014

Scott has been trialling new cover crops over the past couple of years, including grass with legume after having used oats for a long time, but would like to investigate further. These cover crops include rye grass, faba beans, vetch and triticale, with the potential of lucerne and rye corn. The aim of the cover crop demonstration site is to:

- Increase/maintain organic matter and soil structure

- Control weeds

- Build soil nitrogen through the use of legumes in green manure crops. 

Read the May 2017 update developed as part of the Horticulture Field Day for the Hort Connections conference here