The story of Frances

“I am always looking for innovation, opportunities and excitement around new vegetables, new varieties, traits, characteristics and flavours.”

Frances Tolson in the trial field at Bacchus Marsh with colleagues

Not many people can say they’ve had a connection to vegetables their entire life. For Frances Tolson growing up on the family’s vegetable farm means that growing, harvesting, learning about vegetables and educating others is second nature to her. As part of the international chain management team based in Australia, Frances, a self-confessed Vegetable Enthusiast, has been sharing her passion for vegetables.

Bringing vegetables to life

“My role is to bring new vegetables to life. I am always looking for innovation, opportunities and excitement around new vegetables, new varieties, traits, characteristics and flavours. I love the fast pace of this industry, the diversity of the vegetables and the people within it. Growers are very down to earth yet professional.  They not only provide a service by growing fresh food, they also have influence on what consumers eat. By creating connections within the industry throughout different parts of the supply chain, we can all work together to influence the betterment of fresh produce.”

The vegetable conversation

“I grew up on a vegetable farm and my family worked the farm every day. It was part of life. The conversation over dinner every night was about vegetables. We had a very open home and students from the local boarding school and Sydney University, would often come over to learn about vegetables and stay for dinner. It means I am very attune to it. At food manufacturing shows and I see machines that pull food apart and stick it back together.  I really don’t think that’s the way food should be. I think it should be consumed in its most wholesome, natural purist form. We’re very lucky in Australia that we have such an abundance and a broad range of fresh food right at our fingertips.  Wouldn't it be good to see everyone make the choice to consume the best possible fresh produce?”

The truths and myths about vegetables

“Rijk Zwaan has a 100 percent focus on vegetable breeding. The majority of our research and development, is spent on breeding new vegetable varieties that offer something for all partners in the chain: enhanced taste, better resistances, innovation, vitality, convenience, new traits and characteristics. I am fortunate have access to ample resources to sift through the truths and the myths about vegetables. If I don’t know what there is to know about vegetables, chances are that I know someone who will.”

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