Fagan wasn’t about to rest on his laurels, however. He was still looking for value-adds that complemented what Mulyan was already producing. “We had a lot of out-of-spec waste. Basically, we needed something that could take the leftover cucumbers and beetroot.”
The solution had already appeared. When Cowra cannery Windsor Farms went into receivership in 2013, Mulyan bought a lot of the equipment. “At that point, Michael McAlpine from Three Threes condiments suggested we look at doing something in glass jars with all our beetroot that had just lost its home,” Fagan says.
Three Threes couldn’t process beetroot in Sydney as the waste water is bright red and can’t go into the sewers. McAlpine suggested Mulyan do the processing for them, using the equipment they’d just bought. Fagan says it took a few years of trying different products, “but we ended up doing a beetroot relish for their brand that sells really well”.
With cucumbers, Mulyan was already supplying out-of-spec stock to a few picklers but they couldn’t take the entire volume. “My wife did a pickle-tasting tour in Sydney that included McClure’s pickles from the US. After a few trips to Detroit, where McClure’s are based, we secured a deal to be their manufacturer for Australia. We have the rights for all of Asia, too.”
Before he expands into Asia, however, Fagan wants to make sure they first get more runs on the board domestically. After that, he will look to a few key cities in Asia. “Frankly,” he confides, “with a couple of restaurants in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong or Tokyo, we’d be flat out.”