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Shadow Federal Minister for Ag visits the NVP packshed

WA’s largest citrus packing plant has attracted national attention as Moora Citrus looks to the future of the horticulture industry.

Shadow Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joel Fitzgibbon travelled to WA on a mission to see a $7 million packing shed, which was the idea of five families, who are involved in the Moora Citrus business.

The joint venture between the Kay, Gillon, Yildiz, Brennan and Middleton families, offers a way for the Northern Valley region to process and pack more fruit faster and more cost effectively.

While admiring the new shed, Mr Fitzgibbon along with Agricultural region MP Darren West and Federal Labor candidate for Pearce Kim Travers, discussed key issues that Moora Citrus believed were effecting business operations.

Northern Valley Packers shed manager and co-owner Shane Kay said “some of the key topics that were focused on in horticulture or citrus is labour and biosecurity – which are our big ones”.

“This shed came as a result of a shortfall of available infrastructure to do the job that we need,” Mr Kay said.

The shed is the first dedicated citrus packing shed in WA that can do everything from processing, packaging, cooling, loading and inspections and allows produce to be transported straight to port.

To read whole article: Farm Weekly

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6PRs Taste of the West

Whilst the start of the WA citrus season has been a little later than usual, thanks to Mother Nature keeping us on our toes, the local markets have since been brimming with our early season Navel oranges. One things for sure though, our Imperial mandarins can never come soon enough!

       Tune into 6PR (May 2017)

Our Marketing Manager, Elizabeth Brennan, was up at sunrise for 6PRs Taste of the West segment to talk all things Imperial mandarins and ready the taste buds in time for the scheduled pick in a few weeks time.

Click here to listen to the radio interview.

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Make some marmalade, do some good

A few weeks ago a friend of ours, Sophie Budd of Taste Budds Cooking Studio, did a call out for some oranges. Well, it wasn’t quite Sophie that did the call out, it was a bunch of people from 100 Hampton Road

Click on the image below to play the video.


These people are just a handful of some of the most vulnerable people in WA.

100 Hampton Road is a project designed by FORM which works with the residents of a 190-bed lodging house at 100 Hampton Road, Fremantle. It is part of the broader PUBLIC program exploring how art and creativity can be used for public good. Through the support of BHP Billiton, FORM has created a rich project of artist residencies, renovations, and social programming with the aim of bringing residents together in a positive, creative, and convivial environment, and enhance their involvement within the local community.

Taste Budds Cooking Studio is just one of dozens of Perth businesses, big and small, committed to creating real and positive change in the lives of those residing at 100 Hampton Road. Sophie has been running weekly cooking classes and shared lunches creating a range of easy, nutritious meals. Check out her Instagram account to see the smiles of all those involved!

So, where do the oranges come into play?

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Well, those people you see in that video, they made marmalade with boxes of oranges that Moora Citrus donated. They have then gone onto sell their marmalade at local farmers markets and earn a few dollars of their own. And that, my friends, is how micro-enterprises begin in the hope that we can break the cycle of poverty.

Make some marmalade, do some good.

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Juicy Q’s from the Dalwallinu Garden Club

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As Moora Citrus continues to grow it’s production and it’s brand, more and more people are interested to find out exactly what goes on behind the orchard gate. One such group is the Dalwallinu Garden Club who contacted us curious to learn more about Moora Citrus and to ask some particularly juicy questions about citrus production.

Five car loads of ladies from the Dalwallinu Garden Club descended upon the orchard, with wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas to keep the sun off during our delightfully sunny walking tour of the orchard on Monday, 30th May. After a quick dip clean of their shoes to uphold our strict biosecurity regime, the ladies corralled into the shed for a quick cuppa and a slice of freshly baked whole orange cake – click here for the recipe! Our Irrigation Manager, Andy Hinton, and Marketing Officer, Elizabeth Brennan, then gave a brief overview of how Moora Citrus produces and markets some of the highest quality fruit in WA.

Not missing a beat, the Dalwallinu Garden Club ladies had come prepared with questions and a keen interest of how we irrigate, fertigate, manage, prune, pick, pack and market our oranges and mandarins for our priority local WA market and our growing export endeavours.

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After the overview in the shed, we ventured across to a block of early season Navels almost ready to be picked for market, not before curiously stopping to watch freshly mandarins being loaded into the semi-trailer bound for the packhouse. More juicy questions arose as Andy and Liz lead the group through the rows of trees, giving a rare insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Moora Citrus. The ladies were tickled pink, or orange as it were, as we toured through the trial block and saw the odd looking Buddha’s Hands in full fruit!

At the end of the tour, the Dalwallinu Garden Club ladies waved us goodbye with big smiles, citrus samples to take home and an appreciation of what it takes to produce a deliciously juicy orange or mandarin.

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Summer citrus feast in the orchard

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It was a night to remember. Tempestuous summer storms made way for a calm evening of fine dining set amongst the heavily laden orchard of our Summer Oranges. Local chefs and pop-up restaurateurs Fervor created an eight-course degustation menu for our lucky, distinguished guests. This one-of-a-kind dinner showcased the delicate and juicy flavours of our Summer Orange in ways your tastebuds cannot even comprehend!

Bite-sized orange segments, orange sorbets, crispy dehydrated slices, orange-infused oils, silky smooth orange gels, zesty orange peel…

Well-known Perth food blogger The Food Pornographer joined us for the memorable occasion. Click here to read her blog about the Summer citrus feast in the orchard.

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Painting the town orange!

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We teamed up with Hit92.9 to provide a colourful variety of fresh, local fruit to the energetic participants of the happiest run on earth, The Color Run. Moora Citrus provided juicy Summer Oranges with fellow local producers, Genuinely Southern Forests donating the apples and the Kimberley Produce Group donating bananas.

Whilst we were covered head-to-toe in juicy orange goodness, we were no match for the brightly coloured participants who were eager to savour some healthy post-run snacks.

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WA citrus exported to China

 

Western Australian citrus producers have started exporting their fruit to China, marking an exciting development for the State’s $15 million industry.

As well as China, Western Australian producers have also successfully gained market access to Thailand and South Korea, by meeting the stringent protocol that requires specific orchard management practices and cold treatment of fruit transported by sea to the markets.

Citrus Australia assisted the WA growers become export ready by helping them with protocol compliance, export registration and trade missions to China.

The export milestone was also achieved from market work undertaken by the State Government, Horticulture WA and the local citrus industry.

“We are absolutely delighted to see them achieve this milestone,” Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani said.

So far this year, citrus growers Moora Citrus and AGRIFresh have exported more than 30,000 boxes of navel oranges and a small quantity of mandarins to China and South-East Asia.

WA Agriculture Minister, Ken Baston, said now these export markets are established, producers expect to increase the volume of fruit exported over the next few years as significant new plantings come into full production.

“Building on the success of these trailblazing growers, the Government is working with other Western Australian citrus growers interested in exporting their fruit.

“The work included a recent delegation of producers on visits to markets in China to meet buyers, identify any issues in the current supply of citrus, discuss market opportunities and learn more about export protocols.”

Article source: Citrus Australia.

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WA citrus grower set to begin exporting fruit as production ramps up

Western Australian based orange grower Moora Citrus is set to begin exporting navel oranges, the first grower in the state to do so in large quantities.

It is the first large harvest for Moora Citrus, and an expected crop of 6,000 tonnes of fruit will make it the largest citrus producer in the state.

Orchard manager Shane Kay has been working through the application process to allow some of the orchards 170,000 trees to be export accredited.

He expected to begin exporting 1,000 tonnes of oranges in the middle of this month.

“Export is going to be very very important to the future of this orchard, even though Western Australia hasn’t exported many or any navels previously. Predominantly having navel plantings, it’s going to be a big part of what we do going forward,” Mr Kay said.

“The registered blocks that we’ve got here at the moment are registered to go to Korea, Thailand and China. We can also send some to Japan, and then you’ve got Hong Kong and Singapore as well as options and Malaysia. There is good potential out there, it’s quite exciting.”

WA currently produces about 15,000 tonnes of citrus each year. However, this figure will grow as orchards like Moora Citrus come into full production.

The trees at Moora Citrus are expected to eventually produce 13,000 tonnes of fruit. Although there have been significant citrus plantings in the state in recent years, the WA industry is still dwarfed by the Eastern States. New South Wales produces around 250,000 tonnes of citrus annually, representing 40 per cent of Australian production. Citrus is Australia’s largest fresh fruit export. Each year around 165,000 tonnes are shipped to over 30 export destinations.

Moora Citrus executive director Sue Middleton said the growth of production was exciting. “So this was a sheep paddock. What you see around you is many many years of work, and we’ve come a long way,” she said “We planted the first trees in 2005 and we’re now at the point where we’re fully planted. Our first major harvest is this year and it’ll go forward from there in the next four to five years before we get to our maximum tonnage of around about 13,000.”

Ms Middleton said finding labour to pick the increasing crop was a challenge, but it was solved in part by the visa system. “For us, we have three different types of visas that are important,” she said. “Obviously the people that come in on the 457s are incredibly important. They become our permanent workforce,” she said. “And then there is also the Pacific harvest scheme (Seasonal Worker Programme). Those are the people harvesting today, these guys are Tongans.

“And we also have the holiday visa scheme, and that’s people who are holidaying in Australia and want to work in a regional area so that they can stay the extra year, so they like to come out and get a job with us. So all of those together, they’re all really really important.”

Picking the fruit in Moora is a group of 18 Tongan men and women who will spend six months picking before returning home to Tonga. Pickers Will and Amelia have made the journey to Moora from Tonga every year for the past three years. After last harvest they earned enough money to build a house in Tonga. This year they are saving to have hot water connected to the house.

“We have always in the past called ourselves the United Nations, so it’s always hot when the World Cup is on or when the ruby is on or any of the major sporting matches, because we all follow our teams with great passion,” she said.

“But other than a few little funny moments over language, it’s fantastic. It’s really great having that diversity,” she said.

Source: ABC Rural.

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Picking fruit to build a house

Tongans Amelia and Will regularly travel to Moora Citrus in Western Australia to earn money, which they use to improve their lives in Tonga.

Audio source: ABC Rural. Click here to listen to full radio interview.

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Horticulture bus tour, a first in the area

Fifty eager participants from Gingin to Eneabba took part in the “Citrus and potato tour” hosted by West Midlands Group (WMG) and Dandaragan Community Resource Centre (CRC) held recently.

Participants had the opportunity to hear firsthand from Michael Brennan; co-owner of Moora Citrus. Michael explained how the operation first began, the establishment of the trees through to harvesting and packaging the citrus to supply to market.

At present, across the 210 ha property there are 5,000-6,000 tonnes of citrus produced from 170,100 trees. Picking begins at the end of May through to November with all fruit being handpicked. Michael went on to explain that one of the advantages of having the orchid based near Moora is the warmer climate. The sugar levels in the citrus tend to be higher therefore making the fruit taste sweeter. In the future, Moora Citrus hope to expand the area planted and to one day have a packing shed. To conclude Michael said “we are very fortunate in able being to employ really great people who have become our family”.

Attendees had the delight of tasting the citrus straight from the trees. Some of the comments were “we haven’t tasted these sort of oranges since we were kids” and “these are the tastiest oranges we have ever had”.

After a delicious morning tea, the tour then headed to Ryan’s Potatoes. Brad Ryan explained how the Ryan brothers first began growing potatoes in Pemberton in the 1950’s and have since expanded. “By growing potatoes in Dandaragan, we can now grow potatoes all year round” explained Mr Ryan.

The country is undulating with a varied soil type of deep sand, sandy earth and ironstone gravelly soil. The lighter soil is an advantage as the potatoes grow with less defects. The heavier soils contain rocks which can bruise the potatoes.

The tour group also had a look in the potato packing shed where the Ryan’s employees were busy sorting the different grade of potatoes ready for market.

During lunch, potato chips were served as tastings straight from the paddock!

Feedback from participants was that it was a great day out. WMG together with Dandaragan CRC would like to thank the bus driver, Greg Manning for donating the use of his bus as well as his time to drive it around to the different properties. We would also like to thank Landmark for being the event sponsor plus everyone at Moora Citrus and the Ryan family for showcasing their properties and sharing their knowledge.

Article source: West Midlands Group.

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Sweet pickings in full swing

The WA citrus season has kicked off and the third commercial harvest has just begun at Moora Citrus, one of WA’s biggest citrus plantations 200km north of Perth. A significant volume of mandarins and other citrus will be picked across the orchard by the time harvesting of all trees ends in November.

Since planning began in the late 1990s and planting started in 2005, the orchard has developed through strategic and staged development phases and now has a total of 170,100 trees. Covering 212ha, the orchard consists of three varieties of mandarins, seven varieties of Navel oranges and one seedless Midknight orange. The diversity of citrus varieties enables fruit to be picked a maximum number of months in the year, generally from May to November.

Article source: The West. Click here to read full article.

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How a grain-grower successfully expanded into citrus and boosted sales for other growers in the region

With Moora Citrus, WA farmer Sue Middleton is bringing quality homegrown fruit to local markets and looking to supply growing Asian demand for safe premium produce. Middleton and her husband Michael Brennan run a diversified farm in Western Australia’s wheat belt, growing grains, oaten hay, pork – and more recently, oranges and mandarins. Their latest venture is Moora Citrus, a 210-hectare orchard in the new horticultural area near Dandaragan.

Middleton, who grew up on a beef and cropping farm in Queensland, “got bitten by the rural development bug” early, came to WA aged 29 to speak at a conference and “and never quite got home”, meeting her husband eight months into a contract running a capacity-building program for WA rural communities.

In 1998, recognising that around 60 percent of the fresh citrus consumed by Western Australians was imported – but that they’d prefer local produce if it was comparable in quality and price – Middleton and Brennan decided to expand their operation into orange and mandarin orchards.

Article source: AgInnovators. Click here to read full article.

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