Black Sheep Produce is a family farming business in the Riverland region of South Australia. Our specialty is growing jujubes (also known as Chinese red dates), capers and dates. We supply a range of 100% Australian premium fresh, dried and value added products to wholesale and retail customers throughout Australia. Our products contain no artificial flavours, colours or additives – our passion is showcasing the food we grow as naturally and authentically as possible.
We strive to produce the highest quality food products while also looking after our natural resources and our focus is on minimising artificial inputs, improving our soil and maximising our water use efficiency. We also pride ourselves on providing excellent service to our customers.Why did we call ourselves Black Sheep Produce? Simply because we like to do things differently. We grow three very ancient food crops – jujubes, capers and dates – and believe that there is a great future for these alternative crops in Australia. Although they are all very labour intensive, they are relatively low input and low water use crops compared to the more commonly grown fruit and nut trees in Australia. We also have a holistic approach to farming and apply the principle “healthy environment, healthy food, healthy people” in contrast to an industrial farming approach.
We are a husband and wife team and our story began in 1992 when we met at university, where we were both studying natural resource management. Our business idea was born from a project about commercialising native foods. After careers as park rangers in South Australia and the Northern Territory we bought a farm in the South Australian Murray Mallee in 2003. Discouraged by the lack of demand for native foods at the time we settled on growing broombush for brush fencing. We then began looking at other alternative crops and planted our first date palms in 2008. Plantings of capers and jujube trees followed in 2012 and 2014. When our capers came into commercial production we began trading as The Mallee Caper Company. Once our jujube trees and date palms starting producing fruit Black Sheep Produce was born. In 2018 we sold our original farm and transplanted all of our original plantings of jujube trees, caper bushes and date palms to our current property in Loxton.