Horticulture

Shepparton orchard going organic thanks to $500,000 grant

By Rodney Woods

Shepparton orchard Kalafatis Fresh Produce is set to transition into organic produce with the help of a $500,000 grant.

The Woolworths Organic Growth Fund will allow the Kalafatis family, who supply Woolworths with conventional pears and plums from their 500,000-tree orchard, to purchase infrastructure to farm organic pears and plums, including a vertical espalier trellis to cover the crop with pest-proof netting and an irrigation system above the orchard floor to allow for mowing between trees, a critical task when herbicides aren't in use.

“Consumers are putting more organic produce into their shopping baskets every week,” Kalafatis Fresh Produce managing director Jimmy Kalafatis said.

“That's what we're seeing and what the statistics are telling us.

“We applied for the grant because we want to be at the forefront of potential growth markets in Australian fresh produce.”

Lake Boga orchard Wattle Organic Farms was also successful and they will use its $80,000 grant to bring new apricot varieties to Australia.

Applications for round four of the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund are now open and applications close on October 11.

To apply, visit woolworths.com.au/shop/discover/sustainability/organic-growth-fund

See next week's Country News for more.