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Andrew Plunkett

Tatura, NSW

What’s the best part about being a grower?
The best and most interesting part is following the four seasons and that no 2 years are the same – Mother Nature always has a new curve ball for us to work with. Keeps us on our toes and brings new challenges, but we’re use to taking them head on. There is always something new to learn. Sometimes you think you have a good hold on it, and then very quickly, you need to learn to adapt all over again. 

And then there are the people – growers are a good bunch. In this industry the people are passionate and inspirational. To have a sustainable presence in growing, you have to be resilient. And it’s good to a part of that and to be in support of that. 

Why do you grow apples and pears?
Apples, and particularly pears, are very suited to this region, which means we’re able to grow really good quality fruits. We’re a country known and proud of the fruits we produce, so it’s my responsibility to uphold that reputation as a grower and continue to provide a consistently good apple and pear. 

But ultimately it’s because we are following in the footsteps of previous generations and are trying to uphold and improve what they have built. 

Are you hoping to pass on the business to your kids or grandkids?
Yes, I have two children, one boy and one girl – both are still young. I would only like to see the business passed on to them only if they had a real passion to be in this line of work and feel they’re doing it for the right reasons. There is absolutely no obligation on them, but we would love to make the opportunity available to them if it is something they want to explore. 

What has been your proudest achievement in your farming/Packing career?
Seeing our business grow, and watching our volumes for fresh fruit exports grow, and finding their way to a new country almost every year. This again is testament to the quality of fruits Australian soil can produce. So when you think about being able to deliver this to the local market, the short time and distance it travels before it makes it’s way into households, it’s quite incredible the quality we have readily available to us. We’re very lucky to have good healthy produce right in our backyards. 

People often think all fruits are created the same, but in reality, quality is hard to produce, can you tell us the hard work that goes behind the cultivation?
If people knew how much effort goes to get the right quality fruit into their fruit bowl, or the fruit that get’s squeezed into their juices, they would be amazed. From the investment in new orchards and the wait for them to bear fruit, and then all of the hours the production team put into tending to the fruit – spraying at night to work around the bees, getting up early to fight frosts, harvesting in the heat – so much goes behind getting that perfect piece of fruit.