Meet the Adams Family – you probably eat their salad

Belinda and Paul AdamsYou may not know their name but chances are you’ve eaten their salad.
Belinda Adams and her husband Paul are the farmers behind many of the herbs and loose leaf salads you buy at the supermarket.
They run their Coastal Hydroponics business on the Gold Coast and supply basil to all of the Coles Queensland stores, as well as a range of other herbs and mixed lettuce and baby spinach leaves.
Belinda’s parents, Barry and Lyn Moss, started the business 32 years ago.
“Dad started QLD’s first hydroponic system. He’s a persistent old bugger and rocked up to Coles Pacific Fair with a load of product,” says Belinda.
“That’s how we really started supplying.”
The business has grown exponentially since then and is now a major supplier to Coles throughout Queensland and employs about 30 people.
In 2014 Belinda was named the Australian grower of the year by industry body AUSVEG.
“We started growing fancy lettuce and iceberg lettuce. We had a lot of leftover leaf product that wasn’t suitable for whole lettuce. We took that and mixed it together with edible flowers and put it in a punnet.”
Belinda says the product didn’t initially take-off but over years demand for ready-to-eat salads has seen a rise in orders.
“At the moment we’re doing about 20-tonne of salad production,” she says.
“We do about three to four tonne of herbs each week and we still deliver direct to about 20 local stores.
“We get our order each day and that produce is shipped out by lunchtime and sent on our truck to the stores. We’re focused on trying to get the product there as quickly as possible so it has a longer shelf life and there’s less temperature variance.”
Belinda is passionate about produce and often conducts ‘research’ while doing her weekly grocery shop.
“If someone looks approachable I will usually say to them ‘We’ve grown that at Gilston’. The level of surprise amazes me. They have no idea it’s grown here on the Coast. The reaction is always positive – they ask lots of questions and give me feedback.
“People have a real curiosity about their food.”