ON a late night in the 1960s, Grant Paech was busy at the stove top, crafting the first batch of Beerenberg strawberry jam at his Hahndorf home.
It was bottled in plastic cream cartons and the whole lot sold within one day.
It was the break the Paech family were looking for.
That inaugural bottle of strawberry jam launched the Paech family into the condiments industry, to the point where they produce more than 90 different sauces, jams and marmalades.
Not only has the jam put Beerenberg Family Farm on the map, but it has also resulted in a $14 million expansion with staff able to push through 60,000 jars of product in one eight-hour shift.
The 600-square metre expansion was unveiled to food distributors, staff and family on Tuesday last week, coming after years of planning.
This is the first step in Beerenberg fulfilling its purpose in sharing a taste of the country life with the world.
The expansion is the brainchild of managing director Anthony Paech, but a culmination of hard work from family Robert, Sally and Carol, along with staff and contractors to maintain the “Beerenbergy vibe”.
“This new facility is a platform for the future, it means we can have everyone together, store our stock and make everything under the one roof,” Anthony said.
Anthony sketched his first designs in early 2010, but it was not until 2013 that the first part of the three-phase project began.
The final touches were finalised just days prior to the opening, with the new machines, kettles and production line only in operation for the past two weeks.
Anthony said the family were firstly farmers, but also manufacturers, which was the status they wanted to continue into the future.
“This is the first step in Beerenberg fulfilling its purpose in sharing a taste of the country life with the world,” he said.
The expansion has enabled the Paech family to employ 85 South Australians and continue to distribute their products to 24 countries, major airlines and more than 300 hotels world wide.
It is a long way from the Paech’s dairy farming background, where Anthony’s parents Carol and Grant would milk 60 Friesian cows twice a day, for very little return in the 1960s.
“Our building here today is a huge improvement (and) it has been a privilege to be part of the Beerenberg evolution,” Carol said. “It was only two years ago that eight people came to work each day in my home, and four of us used one bedroom as an office – but we just made do.”
Anthony said the brand has continued to grow thanks to the support of locals and visitors. While the major project is complete, Anthony said there were still plenty of plans and opportunities the family wanted to work on to continue to grow the popular SA icon.
Fruit, veg all sourced locally
TOMATO chutney, strawberry jam, caramelised onion and tomato sauce are just some of the most popular products at Beerenberg Family Farm, Hahndorf.
What makes these products even more delicious is the Paech family’s attention to detail and the use of Australian products.
Managing director Anthony Paech said all fruit and vegetables are Australian.
“All our products are from Australian growers, and we try and get as many local products as we can,” he said.
Oranges, apricots and tomatoes are sourced from the Riverland, while raspberries and blueberries are from Tas and Coffs Harbour, NSW.
Add in the 80,000 visitors who pick fresh strawberries at the farm annually, along with the production of berries for products, and the strawberry production quickly adds up.