Harry Trandos remembers a complaint to the Wanneroo Times when he first experimented with hydroponic vegetable growing.
The youngest of the district’s vegetable growing Trandos brothers, speaking to the Times after being named Wanneroo Mayor’s Visionary Business Person was growing plants in tunnels on a Wanneroo Road property when a neighbour said it was pulling the area down.
That ‘thinking outside the square’ was more than 20 years ago and since then, with sons Danny, Jamie and Steven and ‘the boss’ wife Milly, he has overseen the development of the successful Trandos Hyrdroponic Growers (THG) in Neerabup ” complete with its innovative glass house.
‘I built a couple of tunnels, and hydroponically grew tomatoes and cucumbers; no-one knew about hydroponics at the time,’ he said.
‘A couple of years later the boys were leaving school, and they got interested in it. So I decided to diversify from my brothers (Nick and Steve) and do hydroponics.’
Harry said he was happy to receive the visionary business award.
‘But I think the award is more meant for the family,’ he said. ‘Everybody talks about a team effort but it really is with our family.
‘It (market gardening) started off with my dad over 70 years ago. Then our brothers took over the business and now our sons are taking over different parts of Trandos vegetable growing.
‘Particularly the sons ” they’re the brains behind the business. It’s a young man’s game now with computers.
‘I am pleased the award was given to me but it really belongs to the family.’
He thanked his ‘fantastic staff’, who were adopted like family and played a big part in the business, and praised his wife for all her work and support.
‘When I was doing stupid hours, Milly spent a lot of time bringing up the kids, so she deserves a lot of credit,’ he said.
THG general manager Danny Trandos said he was proud of his father and the family.
‘We’re growing plants for large national growers, specialising in grafted vegetable plants such as grafted watermelon and tomatoes,’ he said.
‘The plants get shipped as far away as Tasmania and a remote island off the Northern Territory.’
He said this time of year, the company shipped plants to Victoria and NSW.
It sent grafted tomatoes to some of the biggest glasshouses in Australia.
‘We also grow tomatoes for Woolworths,’ he said.
At ’50 plus 13′, Harry is enjoying his work too much to even think about retiring.
‘I get up before 5.30am and I’m at work about quarter to 6; I’m excited about going to work,’ he said.