MAJOR chains of fruit and vegetables may be feeling the sting but producers from Pialligo Estate are flourishing with supply as they hope the future is all about growing local.
Executive chef Mark Glenn and head gardener Peter Anderson work to maintain a 56-acre farm only 15 minutes from Canberra city and said the key for them is being flexible to what is in season.
"We have to work with what does actually come out of the ground and we can plan as much as we want but nature is nature and that's kind of a little bit of a limitation but at the same time, we have enough flexibility," Mr Glenn said.
Major suppliers have begun warning that crops are at risk of rotting on fields amid extraordinary issues with fresh produce as supermarkets continue to battle filling shelves.
Nationals leader David Littlepoud has blamed worker shortages on the Labor government for shifting away from the Morrison-Joyce government's agriculture-specific visa program.
Standing between eight types of lettuce in a poly house, Mr Glenn thinks they have been luckier to avoid huge issues due to working to "the mercy of nature".
"I think it just comes down to monoculture really, if you plant the same thing in the same soil over and over then eventually it's going to sort of drain that soil of all the nutrients that it requires," he said.
"There's bigger factors at play with the weather and the floods and all of those really unfortunate things."
The farm provides produce to the restaurant, shop and sometimes sells to locals. It includes a vineyard, olive grove, an orchard with more than 1000 fruit trees and 78 vegetable beds, each 50 metres long.
"For us having the ability to turn over our soil and grow whatever we want and change it as regularly as we want means that our soil stays healthy and the plants that we grow are always as beautiful as they can possibly be," Mr Glenn said.
Working day in day out on the farm, Mr Anderson notes they also aren't subjected to making fruit and vegetables look aesthetically pleasing.
"We can deal with a bit more of a microclimate ... it doesn't have to be retail quality, it's still good but if it's got one bug bite in it, that's not a problem," he said.
The smaller size of the capital is another benefit Mr Anderson thinks can help create less of a pressure when it comes to supply.
"On the broader scale to produce for the likes of people in Sydney and Melbourne it's a little more difficult because the land is not necessarily there," he said.
"Because we have a smaller market and because we are a smaller farm so to speak we can pivot a lot more easily."
The recent crisis facing cost of living and produce is something both Mr Glenn and Mr Anderson hope will create a shift in the way people perceive their food.
"The less amount of hands between something coming out of the soil and getting to your plate is better and obviously a farmers' market is a good example of that because the person growing it puts it in the box, takes it to the market and then you take it," Mr Glenn said.
"I think the cost is one thing but I think understanding the value of what a vegetable or a fruit [is] ... in a real sense rather than what people are used to seeing."
"With things like EPIC and the Kingston market, Canberra for its size has quite big farmers' markets and quite good farmers' markets," Mr Anderson said.
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