• Av. temp 17.7o
  • Population 6,733
  • Farms 24

Rocky Pirrottina

Leeton, NSW

How did you get into citrus growing?
My family’s from the south of Italy and we landed in Leeton when I was a kid. Ever since then we’ve been growing oranges for over 55 years. My earliest memories are of getting woken up early every morning to help my parents pick oranges; there was nothing better as a kid than running around and hopping onto a tractor with Dad. It was part of my life early on. I remember we use to go to school and farming was what we would talk about, from how many fruits we picked to who could pick them better – it was all friendly banter.  

What’s the best part about being a grower?
The lifestyle, being your own boss and supporting the local industry. I enjoy being outside than being stuck inside an office. Because of the physical nature of the job, I don’t even have to go to the gym! I enjoy being able to grow trees from seedlings to fruit producing trees with the knowledge that the fruit will be enjoyed all over Australia. Plus farming is a great lifestyle – I get to work outdoors in the fresh air and run my own business.

I love the job – it’s just who you are, we know we get the good years and bad years but we’re all still out there doing it. Farmers are just a great bunch of blokes, everyone knows one another, and they’re all just easy going guys. 

What has been your proudest achievement in your farming career?
Winning “Grower of the Year” in 2014 at the Daily Drinks Company. We as farmers don’t work hard for an award, we work hard because we love what we do. But to have the Daily Drinks company acknowledge this hard work, it was definitely a highlight in my farming career. 

How does this public recognition of your success make you feel?
I was stunned when they announced it and very excited. I love what I do so it’s nice to have Berri Australian Grown appreciate the hard work that goes into producing the fruit. For me, it’s always been about the quality of the fruit and I’m always trying to improve and keep up-to-date on new orange varieties. 

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?

  1. Working around and with weather.
  2. Growing the right varieties.
  3. Adopting best practices.
  4. Employing the best harvest labour that is available. This varies from year to year.
  5. Consistent monitoring of pest and diseases.
  6. Giving plants the right amount of water and nutrients at the right time.

What has been an important lesson you learnt over your time as a grower? 
That hard work makes you happy – it’s good for the soul and good for the mind.

rockyp Rockyp2 rockyp3