The Wimmera Grain Store is part of a family group of businesses which grow, clean and market their own and other chickpeas, lentils and faba beans grown in the broader Wimmera/Mallee Region (season permitting)
Our original family farm, "Overton" is located in the Wimmera Region, at Rupanyup about 3.5 hours drive from Melbourne.
Our grandfather, Albert James Matthews moved to Rupanyup in 1927. His son Valentine and grandson David started growing pulses on the family farm in the early 90’s as part of our crop rotation.
Traditionally an area known for its wool production and wheat, barley and oat crops, the introduction of pulses into the cropping rotations in the early 1980’s heralded a new era for crop production in the region.
Growers quickly realised the capacity of Wimmera soils to grow high yielding pulse crops. Soon field peas, chick peas, lentils, faba beans and broad beans were included in many farms cropping programs.
Planting chickpeas, lentils and faba beans is a crucial part of sustainable farming as they naturally rejuvenate soil with nitrogen.
The Modern Era
Whilst the wheat and barley industry had regulated marketing organisations in place in the early 90's, the pulse industry had no similar structures. Recognising this opportunity, in addition to running the family farm David Matthews started The Wimmera Grain Company, a grain cleaning and export business.
In 2013 he sold the main operating asserts of The Wimmera Grain Company to Australian Grain Export.
The domestic consumption of pulses has grown significantly since 1993. With 12 % of the Australian population now eating all or almost all vegetarian the demand for plant based foods and healthy eating is exploding.
So in 2011 The Wimmera Grain Store was founded by David’s sister Jenny, to supply locally grown chickpeas, lentils and faba beans to Australian based food manufacturers, re packers, cafes and restaurants.
As our knowledge of the supply chain has grown, so has our interest in adding value to what we grow.
So in addition to being able to supply chickpeas, lentils and faba beans grown by Jenny's brother, niece and cousins on the family farm and other local farms as a commodity, we have also been developing a range of shelf ready retail products.
Working with our community.
Our shelf ready retail products are hand packed and dispatched by Axis Worx in Horsham.
Axis Worx is a certified social enterprise providing supported employment and training opportunities in the region for people with disability.
The Wimmera Grain Store retail packaging, with the Rupanyup Silo Art on it, has been designed to promote our town, our region, our art and our food to the tourist market.
For the last 40 years we have watched the population of regional towns like Rupanyup decline.
If these small towns/communities die out who is going to help out at harvest ? Clean the grain, pack the product or transport it to the cities or overseas ? How will you get food from farm to plate ?
Attracting tourist to the region is the first step to keep these small towns and communities going. Adding value to what is grown in the region and marketing these products to tourists, we hope will be the first steps in creating a self generating economy which will build a sustainable future for these small towns and region.