• Av. temp 15.35o
  • Population 29,553
  • Farms 6

Con Damianopoulos

Shepparton, VIC

What’s the best part about being an apple grower and packer?
Well I grow, pick and pack my fruits, so my biggest satisfaction comes from seeing this process from start to finish. Knowing I have full control in making sure the fruits are delivered in their best form to the public makes this all very rewarding. I’m proud to know that when the fruits finally leave the shed, I have personally been involved in every step of the way.

Why do you grow what you grow?
Because I was born into the orchard business, and I have loved it all my life. I’m a 3rd generation grower and without a doubt I always knew I would take on this family business. From young this is what I’ve been most passionate about. Schooling and all that, the idea of doing something else, all this never interested me. I’m pretty lucky to be doing something I’m so proud and passionate about.  

Are you hoping to pass on the business to your kids or grandkids?
The other thing that makes me love doing what I do is that both my boys are already very involved and work with me on our orchard. I have three children, 2 boys – Thomas who’s 22 years old, Michael who’s 21 years old and one girl Emily who’s 11. Not so sure with Emily yet (laughs) but I hope the boys continue to be as involved as a grower as they are today as I would love to someday see them become 4th generation growers for our apples and pears.

What has been your proudest achievement in your farming career?
Farming isn’t easy, not in the slightest, but I love it for the challenges, so I guess being able to overcome obstacles and go on to expand the business and watch it grow is my proudest achievement. Seeing my buys work the orchard with me is equally a proud moment in itself. I’d like to think they are just as proud of the farming business which is ultimately the reason why they already play such a big part. They’re at an age where there are plenty of other distractions, plenty of other activities they could be putting their time into, and yet here they are working the orchards with the family…yes I would say this is one of my proudest achievements. 

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?
That is very true! Quality doesn’t just happen and I’m proud to be an Australian grower for the reason we produce some of the best fruits. Personally for me, to make sure we produce consistent and great quality apple and pears, we make sure to spray the trees. Now that may not sound like a lot, but it not only is it very important but costs a lot of money to do. Maintenance of the trees is vital – the pruning, the thinning, the watering – all these factors build up to cultivating juicy good tasting fruits. When there is no water, we have to buy it, and you can only picture the amount we would have to buy to water an entire orchard. And lastly, the weather. This plays a huge part as any hail, wind and heat can all do a lot of damage. As this is something outside of our control, the only thing we can do as a grower is accept that these are challenges we face and push on when we do face them.