In 2014 we started selling black currants on line. Our entre into this market was heavily supported by Farmhousedirect and Australia Post. The following is the article that was written at that time. we have learnt a lot since that time about packaging and handling and hope we will have the opportunity to supply you once again.
How did this come about you may ask? Well you may be aware that this spring the weather was very wet and cold. Obviously the bees didn’t do their job and as a result trees which were in blossom at that time didn’t get pollinated. As a result we hardly had any apricots.
However the blackcurrants were unaffected and we had very good blackcurrants; so many in fact that we didn’t know what to do with them all. Unlike machine picked blackcurrants our blackcurrants are washed and clean of stalks and other foreign matter. This makes them ideal for desserts and of course jams.
We made lots of blackcurrant jam and mixed berry jam and froze a lot but still there were more blackcurrants to pick.
Looking at the internet I discovered that there is a big market for frozen and fresh blackcurrants in the United States. Maybe we could do the same here!
I then contacted Farmhousedirect who handle our products for on-line sales as well as many other similar producers. They were very supportive and we arranged for a special sale to happen with dispatch to go out the following Monday by Express Post.
Well I was dumbfounded for within a couple of hours all our blackcurrants were sold. In fact due to an error in my ad we really didn’t have enough.
Now we were entering new territory. How were we going to get these items to our customers? My experience is that they didn’t deteriorate quickly in our chilled coolroom. However they did tend to juice and the skins became softer. With this in mind I decided to pack them in heavy duty plastic bags and heat seal the ends. I then enclosed this bag in another lighter bag just in case the bag was not perfectly sealed. A 2kg package fitted well in one of our own purpose made boxes. All the boxes once packaged were put back in the cool room until despatch which was planned for the Monday.
On advice from FarmHouse Direct we drove to Perth just outside of Launceston , Tasmania so as to be at an Express Post outlet. We had now discovered that all Post Offices in Australia were not equal. In fact there was not only a National Network but a State Network too. And to further complicate matters if you moved into another State Network all bets were off as to how long it took to get there.
We didn’t examine these conditions in great detail at the time as we weren’t really aware of these loop holes in the Express Post network. We were also not aware that transit time would play such a role in getting these parcels to our customers in good shape. In hindsight we should have checked all postal codes and been more specific in warning our customers that they had to be in one of the appropriate Express Post Networks. However it being summer and extremely hot weather conditions were prevailing on advice again from Vanessa at Farmhouse Direct we did confine deliveries to Tasmania, Victoria and N.S.W.