Coolibah Herbs – Masters of Mesclun

Coolibah Herbs was formed in the early 1980s by Michael and Jenny Bogicevic, and commenced operations in Pearcedale on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. Its evolution was the natural progression of an enterprising market gardening business that initially began growing a variety of vegetables and herbs on a 45 acre farm, selling the produce off the back of a truck in the Melbourne Wholesale Market.

In the early 1990s, the development of a new product line to Australia, Mesclun, otherwise known as Salad Mix, began.

This product, originating in Provence, France in the mid 1970s, is a colorful and appetising combination of several different types of baby lettuce leaves and Asian greens.

The introduction and first production of mesclun in Australia was by a young Frenchman from Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula, who began a small local operation growing the product of his homeland. Our first sighting of mesclun was at our children’s school, where this fellow parent triumphantly cascaded the multi-coloured leaves onto the communal kitchen table!

Shortly after its introduction, a couple of growers followed his lead, Coolibah being one of them.

With mesclun’s rapid and increasing market appeal, the business decided to pursue large-scale production. To produce the number of varieties necessary and to allow for rotation of crops with a very short harvest cycle, an adjoining farm was purchased.

It was quickly recognised that to keep pace with increasing demand, production techniques and equipment needed to be continually upgraded, a principle that is still adhered to today.

Market sales expanded rapidly and land for cultivation became an issue. The demand for produce resulted in the purchase of additional acreage near Mildura on the Victorian/NSW border. This strategic decision provided the business with a geographically diverse production option and allowed it to increase volume, and to maintain year round production. This continuity of supply is a very important service to our customers.

To further cope with increasing production and sales, an automated processing facility and cool room was built on the main farm in Pearcedale. As the operation further expanded, continuous improvements have been made to growing and processing techniques, packaging and distribution.

The crops are grown and maintained according to best farm practices; harvested according to strict selection criteria; delivered to the packing facility where produce is checked against quality standards to be accepted or rejected; processed within the guidelines of quality assurance procedures; and delivered in a timely manner.

The focus on quality and attention to detail in all aspects of production from planting to final delivery are the reasons Coolibah Herbs is able to cater for the most discerning customer.

From its humble beginnings, Coolibah Herbs has grown to now farm in excess of 2000 acres, operate outlets in the wholesale markets of Melbourne and Sydney and sell to major customers throughout Australia and overseas. It still remains a family owned business, with family members being part of the management team.