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Noel Plunkett

Tatura, NSW

How did you or your family come to be a grower?    
Grandfather settled in Ardmona in 1880’s and recognised that the climatic conditions and the developing irrigation district at the time would be conducive to fruit growing. So my grandfather built the business, it was then passed onto my father, then to me, and now to my son Andrew.

What did your family grow when you first started?    
We have grown apples and pears even in the early days from when the farm first started, and at that time we were also growing grapes and stone fruit 

What makes you proud/Passionate to be an Australian grower/Packer? 
Being part of a long line of horticulturalists. The ability to be a master of your own future where you can see the outcome of your own commitment and efforts.  To be part of a stimulating and progressive industry which includes interesting, dynamic and hard working people. I’m passionate in what I do for the opportunity to work outdoors and enjoy the distinct change of seasons we experience in the Goulburn Valley.

What advice would you give the next generation of growers/Packers?
Like all farming your future is dependant on the weather. It is a volatile industry from both growing and marketing perspective so you must have the disposition to deal with the demands and disappointments this brings. The time and energy commitments are huge but the rewards can be very satisfying. All farming is becoming much more technical and less manual labour orientated so comprehensive and ongoing education will be essential to understand and recognise opportunities science and communication development will offer in the future. Tap in this and know how to leverage to your advantage.

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?
Fruit growing is totally dictated by the weather – spring is growing period and harvest time so you must work within these demands – you can’t have a day off if the weather indicates you must pick or spray that day.  Acute observational skills are required to detect pests/irrigation application and optimum time to harvest. Permanent and seasonal workers require a great deal of management.   Administration work is often attended to late at night. We need to be expert growers, but also savvy business people to be able to run this business. 

Do you work the growing business on your own, or do you work with the family? What role do they play?
Whilst I am still involved in the business the main part of the management falls to our son Andrew.