SPC Ardmona’s production line roared into life on the weekend before Christmas to herald the beginning of the apricot processing season.CATHY WALKER January 1, 2013 4:00am
And the sea of good quality apricots has produced a positive vibe around the Shepparton factory, operations manager Denis Gerrard said.
‘‘We’re right into it now,’’ Mr Gerrard said on Friday.
‘‘The growers have given us very good fruit again this year and if we start right, we finish right.’’
Apricots are the only variety that SPC takes delivery of as much as is available, compared with all the other fruit types, which have quotas.
Mr Gerrard said the apricot quality compared well with last year’s, which was the best for about five years.
Growers from Cobram, Kyabram and various parts of the Goulburn Valley and some from ‘‘down south’’ contribute to the factory’s output, which Mr Gerrard said in 2013 includes ‘‘a lot more product out of fresh (apricots)’’.
‘‘For example, we supply paste for all our IXL products, so the apricot jam is all Australian.’’
It takes no more than eight days from delivery to Shepparton until apricots leave the factory in tins or fresh packets, and the seasonal weather is an important factor.
While livestock producers are scanning the rain radar in hope of a downpour, Mr Gerrard said he doesn’t want rain, particularly like last year around Christmas.
The only blip on his horizon is the extremely hot temperatures predicted on the weekend.
‘‘When the fruit comes in on a hot day we try to get as much heat out of it as possible — on a day that hot you are concerned about fruit splitting and being cooked from the inside by the heat in the stone.’’
In early December, managing director Vince Pinneri told a growers’ meeting the company continued to face challenging trading conditions as a consequence of the high Australian dollar, significant deflation in fresh fruit prices and competition from cheap imported products.
‘‘While we have grown our market share the reality is that demand for packaged fruit has been declining and our fruit intake for the 2013 season reflects this,’’ Mr Pinneri said.
But Mr Gerrard said factory morale was high and the weeks ahead hold a busy schedule — apricots are due to be all done by January 10, followed by peaches and pears and, somewhere in the mix, a window of opportunity to put through 350
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan urges people to continue supporting SPC Ardmona after yesterday’s funding announcement, but also warns it could mean less jobs in the future.
Mulwala Thirds full forward Gus McMillan kicked his 100th goal for the season on Saturday.
Murchison and Tatura SES units were two of 26 Victoria State Emergency Service volunteer units to receive an allocation of new equipment this week as part of the annual AAMI equipment handover program.
Echuca woman Tracey Kerr could be out of prison in as little as just over two years after a judge ordered her to serve a minimum of four and a half years in jail for killing Doug Barrett in 2012
Rochester resident Phyllis Thompson raised concerns about the pedestrian crossing outside the post office VicRoads recently.
Girgarre Primary School students relate what the best book is they have read and why.
The death of Arthur Cole is the passing of a true gentleman.
A commemorative plaque to mark 100 years of Berrigan Red Cross has been unveiled outside the Berrigan RSL Club.
Peter Maine has traken over the president's role for Heathcote Tourism and Development.
Cobram service sees crowd commemorate 48th anniversary of a key Vietnam battle.
The region is holding out for winter rain.
A $100 million investment program will recommence following parent company Coca-Cola Amatil's decision today to invest $78 million into SPC Ardmona.
Vale Pat Gardner, 1916 - 2014 whose last wish was for the Benalla ceramic mural to be listed by the National Trust.
- Benalla unveils its refurbished old shire offices which are now the Civic Centre
- Support Light the Night in Benalla next month
- Poppy Smith celebrates her second birthday, having survived a heart defect.
- Benalla Rural City Council announces intention to re-appoint CEO Tony McIlroy
- Benalla Art Gallery appoints new director
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