Red Rich Fruits finish first season of Murcotts for export
SINCE 1948 Red Rich Fruits has been growing, packing and supplying fruit across Australia but the acquisition of three citrus orchards in Gayndah in April brought a fresh avenue for the New South Wales based company.
Yesterday National Farming operations manager Tim Teague packed the very last pallet of Murcott mandarins for export to China, after a successful season.
Mr Teague has worked for Red Rich Fruits right across Australia for almost a decade, and when the opportunity arose to lead the new avenue in the North Burnett he jumped at it, relocating his family to the close-knit town of Gayndah.
"I've been here since March and my family arrived a couple of weeks ago, it was a quick transition for me but it's been great,” Mr Teague said.
"Gayndah has beautiful people and the weather is really nice, we're looking forward to getting more involved in the community once we're all settled in and the season quietens down.”
Before the move Mr Teague had no experience in citrus, however, he had experience in management and packing sheds with Red Rich Fruits.
He now works alongside Gayndah locals Tim Ulcoq, Fred Brunjes, Jeff Shadford and Neville McCosker, all of who have extensive experience in the citrus industry.
Mr Teague becoming a part of the community has opened doors for Red Rich Fruits that they weren't necessarily anticipating.
"Red Rich having a footprint in Gayndah also enabled us to form relationships with other growers and we've sold significant volumes of their fruit as well,” Mr Teague said.
Murcott harvest commenced in the first week of July, on the back of a fruitful Imperial harvest, another first for Red Rich Fruits.
The 150 hectares of orchards acquired, grown in alluvial sandy loam soil on the banks of the Burnett River, primarily produce Imperial and Murcott mandarin varieties.
Managing director Matthew Palise said export interest had been very strong.
"We have two main mandarin varieties on the orchards, and our Murcott mandarins have been especially popular overseas. We've established a program to send the whole crop into China,” he said.
"Fruit set this year was great with 70 to 80 per cent fruit on the trees. We've had plenty of cold nights and warm days recently, which have been perfect to bring out a high colour in the fruit, and we've been getting some excellent quality right across the orchard.”
Mr Palise said they had a strong start to the 2018 Imperial season, with ideal growing conditions in the lead up to Easter when picking commenced.
"We were seeing consistently good volumes of rain and good sunshine, so we were getting great fruit and good size.
"Our first crop of Imperial mandarins was all sold domestically, with the bulk of the product selling through Coles.”
The acquisitions have enabled Red Rich Fruits to market their own fruit across three major categories.
Mr Palise said the acquisitions signalled a new phase of Red Rich Fruits' growth.
"We pride ourselves on supply chain integration and see this as a great strategic fit, enabling us to harvest and sell our own fruit year-round, across the pome fruit, stone fruit and citrus categories.”
The Gayndah property includes a 1530 square metre packing shed, two cool rooms, full irrigation infrastructure, and generous water allocations.
"The properties also incorporate arable land so there's plenty of room to grow from here.” Mr Palise said.