WHO THEY ARE
Founded in 1912, WA Farms has always been a family business. In 2013, together with his daughter Jenny and his son, Bradley, John Mercer, a grandson of the original founder, started WA Farm Direct, a very small farming business. In the five years since the company was founded, it grew from five to 35 members of staff, whilst staying true to the strong family values upon which it was founded.
WHAT THEY DO
WA Farm Direct has now been growing Bravo apples for three years. This a new, revolutionary variety of apple that was developed by the State Government in Western Australia. The last apple they developed was the Pink Lady 30 years ago, and the Bravo apple is their next big apple. WA Farms were hand-picked, along with 60 other reputable Australian producers, to grow and market its latest innovation.
Not only is the Bravo apple packed with antioxidant-rich flavonoids, according to WA Farm Direct managing director, Jenny Mercer: “When you eat the Bravo apples before you eat food, it reduces the absorption of the cholesterol of the food you eat next.” This is the kind of health benefit that you normally see advertised in tablet form to encourage weight-loss and metabolic-rate increases but, according to extensive research, these properties are naturally present in the Bravo apple. Mercer continues: “Scientists aren’t quite clear on is exactly how it works in the body, and so what they’re saying now is that when you eat it as a natural fruit source it has a much better effect than if you just take a tablet.”
The apple is also good for the environment. John Mercer explains: “We’re very lucky in Australia – particularly Western Australia – that we don’t have many pests and diseases, so we don’t really need to use any pesticides. We’re very lucky in that way.”
With its characteristic burgundy skin and bright white flesh, the Bravo apple tastes just as good as it looks. Jenny Mercer says: “It’s very sweet, with a tiny bit of acid. So it’s a full balanced flavour in your mouth, it’s not just one or the other. It’s got a beautiful crunch, it’s juicy, so it’s just everything you want in a piece of fruit.”
One of its more unique features is that it’s very slow to oxidise because the antioxidants stop it from oxidising. This makes the Bravo apple a great ingredient for cheeseboards, salads or kids’ lunchboxes. Children are often fussy about eating fruit that is oxidised, but this isn’t the case with this apple because it stays crunchy and sweet when it’s cut, and it doesn’t go brown for a long time. The Bravo apple is also great for cooking since it holds its shape and texture, and it makes a very nice fresh juice. If you leave the skin on, the final product is a beautiful cloudy pink colour. In the words of Jenny Mercer, the Bravo apple is “like no other”.