Grower Profile – Marco Ferreirinha

Borlotti Beans

Mum and Dad came to Carnarvon pretty much straight off the plane from Madeira, Portugal in 1988. They started working with my uncle who had a plantation, then after a few years they bought their own property. We’ve grown tomatoes, capsicums, bananas, eggplants, and cucumbers for 30 years. 

It’s taken me a few years to finally find myself a little block of land to grow my borlotti beans. I love the plantations and I love growing. Carnarvon is a great little town, I wouldn’t move away. 

I enjoying working with fruit and veg every day. I load trailers with produce grown around the river for a packer in the mornings, and then I go to my little block to chill out. 

Borlotti beans are a Portuguese thing: the seed came from back home and has been around the river in Carnarvon for many years. 

When they’re mature and ready to pick they go red. The borlotti bean is inside and has got a beautiful colour to it. They’re really nice in soup and salad, and there’s demand for them.

A lot of Europeans, like Italians, or Portuguese, or Croatians, don’t see borlotti beans very often in Perth, but they can remember them growing back home and now they can buy a few kilos to take home and cook up.

It feels great to be a food producer. You’re growing something that you love and it’s going to the markets fresh the next day. I’d like to work on some packaging to get borlotti beans into the supermarkets, and chefs too, if chefs could take a few kilos that’d be really good.

My favourite thing to do with borlotti beans is boil them up till they’re cooked and then just put olive oil and garlic and throw it together with your salad. It’s beautiful.