Grower Profile

​Raffa Family

The Raffa family has lived in the Koo Wee Rup area since the early fifties, after Luigi Raffa migrated to Australia from Sicily. Luigi worked on farms in the area and he and his wife Sebastiana had three children including Con and Lou (see pictured 2nd and 4th from left). Luigi purchased the family property and worked hard growing onions, potatoes, carrots, swedes, turnips, corn and peas. In 1972, as soon as Lou left school, he joined his father on the land, while his older brother Con spent many years working in a bank.

The family decided to extend their cropping to asparagus in response to market needs and also to supplement their income at off season times for their other vegetable crops. “The summer and autumn crops are planted in spring, and asparagus provided the perfect balance. It provides returns in spring when you are planting other crops - you have an income while you are spending money,” says Con.

Then in 1988, the family started a packing operation as well as growing asparagus, as Lou explains, “We started processing our own asparagus and we couldn’t keep up! So we called on Con to help. Con had said he would always come onto the farm when he retired from the bank. You need two people looking after the other crops and one person to look after the asparagus, and we were lucky to have Con. We now specialise in asparagus.”

All Lou’s working life has been spent on the farm and he has a passion for the lifestyle, the work and the hive of activity during the season. “The place comes alive for 12 - 16 hours a day and a 3 or 4-month season is gone in what seems a month! You enjoy that season then you go back to working with 2 or 3 people,” says Lou.

Lou’s son, Vince (see pictured 1st on left) has been working with Lou and Con since January 2004, and has come in with some great ideas, motivation and work ethics. The other children help out when they can and it becomes fun when working within the family. In the past few years the family has been growing red onions (which are the best tasting onions for salads) as well as brown and white onions. Lou prefers more red onions than tomatoes in his salad!

The family’s favourite recipe is an asparagus omelette, which is so easy and quick to make: Just fry an onion, add 750g finely sliced asparagus, salt and pepper and cook until tender. Beat 6 eggs and add to the asparagus. In no time you have a good snack or lunch, with is filling and great for you.

Lou and Con Raffa produce green asparagus for both the domestic and export markets. It is packaged under “Mack” brand, which is jointly owned by Charlie and Lena Motta and James Terry, and marketed under Momack Produce Pty Ltd