Piccolo Farm | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
Lizzie and Gianluigi Buscaino own Piccolo Farm, supplying edible flowers, bush foods and niche herbs to restaurants and boutique cake makers throughout Sydney and the Southern Highlands.
Fluctuations in demand, seasonal variability and a typically limited shelf life have long been issues, creating unnecessary wastage, undermining reliable supply for customers and impacting the ability to accurately project sales revenues across the year.
Lizzie decided the answer to all three problems lay in finding a preservation solution that could create a value-added, shelf-stable product.
Delicate edible garnishes, herbs and bush foods don’t necessarily respond well to traditional drying methods, losing both shape and colour — two of the most important visual factors in food presentation and highly decorative specialist cake making.
Lizzie opted for a freeze-drying method which delivers a product that holds its colour, maintains its original shape and preserves its flavour. This method of preservation additionally extends the shelf life of delicate ingredients, enabling customers to purchase greater quantities in advance and maintain a reliable supply.
For Lizzie, the ability to hold stocks over a longer period allows her to utilise the full crop, minimising wastage thanks to the preservation of excess available produce during peak growing season.
2019–20 presented challenging conditions for business, with drought, fires, floods and the pandemic all impacting Piccolo Farm's bottom line. Lizzie says it would have been difficult to acquire the freeze-drying equipment this year without financial assistance from FIAL.
“This is something we’ve been considering for some time, but the last 12 months made it very tough. Being able to freeze-dry our products has allowed us to offer a much higher value product and to maintain better sales stability across the entire year."
“The new product format really sets us apart from everything else on the market and makes the business far more financially sustainable thanks to support from FIAL,” Lizzie said.