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by Liesel Rennie
 
See the update to this article on Found ... Gem Squash Seeds!
 
You may remember from Issue Four we featured an article about the Steffen family in Gatton who are growing gem squash:

Thanks to another enterprising and ever resourceful South African, we here in Oz are about to start enjoying having gem-squash as part of our staple diet again!

Gatton farmer Brett Steffens looked into importing gemsquash seeds from South Africa, not only to provide an alternate source of income, but also to fill what is quite clearly a gap in the market.

Brett is a third generation farmer, who was prepared to take a gamble on importing seeds! Fortunately, the gem squash is an easy grower, and took to the land like a duck to water! “It took a lot of research and tonnes of paper-work” especially thanks to bureaucratic red tape. Brett persevered and did everything by the book. Now he has the rights to import a hybrid seed which he has exclusive rights to for the next three years.

As a result of this article, Brett received calls from many ex-pats placing their orders for their beloved gems, but understandable most only ordered a box or two every now and again. As well as sporadic sales through a few South African grocery stores, the Steffens have relied mostly on word of mouth to sell their gems. Unfortunately the demand has not been sufficient and Brett had to throw out more than 75% of his last crop. He has approached Woolies in Sydney and like most large stores they are happy to stock new products, but only if the demand is there.

So next time you visit your local Coles, Woolies or Fresh Food Market, why not ask if they stock gem squash (We know they don't), but this is one way we can start to help build some demand for Brett's crop. And if you approach a small independent grocery and they are interested, please take their details and pass them on to Brett Steffens.
His details are:
Mobile: 0419 021 421
 
You can also contact Paul Seymour on 0423 618 331 for contacts on where to buy the Gem Squash.
The next crop of gems goes in at the end of August, so get your orders in and lets see how much demand we can create for this truly African vegetable. Lets make gem squash an Aussie household favourite.
 
Thanks to Jenny Liebenberg for sending her message to Sabona's Inbox. Great to see the Southern African spirit of community and looking out for each other, continues in our adopted country: I phoned Brett and he said he had to dump about 75% of the crop last season due to lack of support. Let's make an effort to support him so we don't lose our Gems. He said none of the supermarkets would suppport him. Lets push our local supermarkets or green grocers to buy some gem squash. Jenny

Also see:

 
 
 
Posted in community |
Posted by Liesel Rennie
16 Jun 2008



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Gretel Breytenbach mentions the fact that powdery mildew is easily treated ?. Can someone pass on some hints of one can achieve a successful treatment
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Aylwin Halligan-Jolly on 09 Oct 2013

 
I am horrified to think that 75% of Brett's gems had to be dumped when I would have driven to Gatton to collect them and sell them at the Caboolture Market which is teaming with Saffies! Please spread the word on facebook that we must all ask at any Woolies or Coles r Aldi we go into if they have gems! Never underestimate the power of the mouth!
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Colleen Wright on 27 Mar 2013

 
Wild n Fresh. We grow Gems in South Australia. Find us at www.wildnfresh.com.au or on facebook. 08 85841408. Usually have fresh stock just before Xmas...
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Alex Wild on 13 Sep 2011

 
I am not sure but are the gems good for menopause? If so market them that way. Perhaps ask South African Restaurant O Fish to sell them for you
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by renee on 30 Mar 2011

 
I SUGGEST THAT YOU GET SOMEONE ON A MORNING SHOW TO SHOW AND TASTE GEM SQUASH----1000'S WATCH THE MORNING SHOWS OR FIND OUT IF SOMEONE WILL PUT SOUTH AFRICAN COOKING INTO MASTERCHEF
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by CLAUDIA BUTLER on 23 Mar 2011

 
I SUGGEST THAT YOU GET SOMEONE ON A MORNING SHOW TO SHOW AND TASTE GEM SQUASH----1000'S WATCH THE MORNING SHOWS OR FIND OUT IF SOMEONE WILL PUT SOUTH AFRICAN COOKING INTO MASTERCHEF
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by CLAUDIA BUTLER on 23 Mar 2011

 
i cant believe that your local fruit and veg shop do not stock the gem squash.....i own and run a veg shop in perth and we stock gem squash for the 6 months out of the year that it grows here for.... good luck to all searching for it in the eastern states
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by andrew on 05 Oct 2010

 
Can anyone tell me if gem squash are available in Gold Coast - Brisbane area? --- if "gems" are marketed in Australia one should put a warning on the squash to prick before boiling to stop them possibly exploding! (Otherwise there is a possibility that some prick will get scalded!)
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by Graham on 30 Jul 2010

 
this is awesome news, only how do we get hold of them. have written to the email address, but unfortunately no response. Would love to support and get hold of some gems, please help me by responding....
Rating: 3 / 5
 
by Di Purdy on 11 Dec 2009

 
I'm pleased to hear that the gem squash is slowly hitting the markets but I would love to get the seeds and grow my own one nursery said round zucchini is the same thing is that true what is gem squashs botanical name lets have some more info please
Rating: 3 / 5
 
by bev Ledgerwood on 14 Oct 2009

 
Harris farm markets in newcastle have had them for the last few months. About 15 years ago the supermarkets had them with little stickers on telling you how to prepare them,maybe you could try that.
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by Sandie williams on 02 Sep 2009

 
I have had the little 'gems' once only in n.s.w. penrith area about 15 yrs ago. I would die to grow and eat them now. Have recently (today) sent the name to someone who wrote to 'GRASSROOTS' mag asking if anyone knew what they were called. Grassroots, Earth Garden and similar mags would probably be a good launching medium for the 'little gem'. I just know that once they taste them, you wouldn't need the 'big boys' if u know what I mean
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by karin on 22 Jul 2009

 
I have bought gems at Springbok foods, and also when we went to Perth we saw them in the local green grocers... I think that Brett should approach some of the stores that supply South African products, such as all the Perth places as well as some of the Coles. (our coles at the Logan Hyperdome has got boerwors, chutney and bovril!!!). Best of luck dude. I'll always be a buyer whenever I see them.
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Sandra Benfield on 13 Jul 2009

 
Maybe if you supplied recipes or suggested ways to cook Gem Squash this would help - why not do an article for a family magazine or newspaper on the delights of eating Gem Squash including nutrient information etc
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by Jenny Starr on 29 Jun 2009

 
I bought Gems for the first time in 3 years at the South African shop in Melbourne about a month ago! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the green beauties! I had to hug one.. if you can hug a gem - let's just say the shop assistant's eyes nearly popped out! Well, now I've got my seeds and will try growing them. But I'll also see whether I could get the local grocer to stock some.
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Lesley on 27 May 2009

 
Whoo hoo, Gems in Aussie .... this is just to great, can't wait to get my hands on some! Please send details.
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by TRUDY ROSS on 09 Mar 2009

 
As the article says we all have to ask at our local supermarkets and greengrocers for Gems so they know there is a demand. I have only found them at the African Delights, Dural and Franklins in St Ives Sydney.
Rating: 4 / 5
 
by Colleen on 01 Feb 2009

 
would love to order gemsquash on a regular basis. Would appreciate further details on putting in orders, cost etc.
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Benita Malan on 31 Jan 2009

 
I have arrived in Brisbane and would live to order Gems.... How do I go about it. I have also read some of the above articles and I just hope that I can get a reply as some of the above people have not yet had a response. maybe this is a result of the crop not doing well. Would love to here from you for an order.
Rating: 3 / 5
 
by Lynda Owen on 27 Jan 2009

 
You can also contact Paul Seymour on 0423 618 331 for contacts on where to buy the Gem Squash.
Rating: 5 / 5
 
by Shane on 27 Oct 2008

 
 
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