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NEW LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC FACILITY CREATED TO SHOWCASE AUSSIE INNOVATION IN APPLE AND STONE FRUIT PRODUCTION

VICTORIA, Narre Warren North, 21 September 2020Montague, one of Australia’s largest fruit growers, is currently constructing an expansive new fruit processing facility in Narre Warren North. It is a multi-use facility located on a 12-hectare plot of land at the boundary of Lysterfield Park and Horswood Road. The complex will process over 260,000,000 pieces of fruit annually which will be distributed to markets across Australia and the world.  The project will also comprise a café, retail space, apple and stone fruit sales, public picking orchard, seasonal exhibition space, bike shop and open space lawns available all of which will be open to the public.

The project is planned to launch in phases with the build of the 53,200m2 fruit processing facility set to complete at the end of this year. Installation of packing equipment is scheduled to commence in mid-September, which will mean the new stone fruit grader will be operational from mid-January 2021 and all apple production lines fully operational from mid-March 2021, in time for next year’s apple season.

The development showcases local construction materials including recycled timber from the original barns that were located on the property and features natural products with distinctive earthy tones to reflect the surroundings flora from the recreational reserve and orchards. The internal and external concrete slabs will be completed in September with the main building structure and roof completed in early October.

The Montague hospitality development, which is the first public access amenity created by Montague, will be open by mid-January 2021. The name of the café and public orchard will be unveiled in November.

“Consumer research shows that Australian’s want to know where their food comes from and how it is handled before reaching the retail stores,” said Rowan Little, Chief Innovation Officer. “From February 2021, visitors can join us to learn first-hand about fruit production while enjoying a coffee and pick some apples for themselves,” he concluded.

The café and retail space will be positioned at the western end of Horswood Road adjacent to the main entrance to Lysterfield park, and is set to transform the experience for park users into a tremendous tourist precinct. The facility has also been created to support the local community and provide open access (*bookings essential) to educational, behind the scenes insights into 21st century fruit growing.  The facility will offer a picturesque 3-hectare pick-your-own apple and stone fruit orchard with more than 2,000 trees of speciality varieties for visitors to try. Visitors to the site will also be able to tour the expanded fruit processing facility and witness firsthand how Australian grown fruit is packed and distributed to supermarkets and green grocers around-Australia and the world.

In addition to the new café and retail space the project will also deliver significant upgrades to the 24-hour carpark at the end of Horswood Road which services Lysterfield park. This will significantly improve the carpark space providing a fully sealed carpark with additional parking capacity and expanded slips created for horse floats. The upgraded carpark will be reopening to the public during Spring of 2020.

The project had been impacted by the stage 4 restriction in Victoria, with construction operating at a limited capacity since the 5th of August. However, the Victorian State Government recognised Montague as critical and essential providers of fresh fruit to Australians and granted special permission for construction to resume at an increased capacity.

Montague has implemented a High-Risk COVID-Safe plan and continue to adhere to all ongoing directions, recommendations and guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding recommended measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission and ensure a safe working environment for everybody working on the project.

“We are grateful to the State and Federal Governments for granting us special permission to increase and facilitate construction from September 13. This will mean that our facility will be fully operational in time for the apple harvest season next year, with improved capacity to process and pack the next crop and provide much needed fruit to the Victorian and broader Australians consumers.” Said Little.

Background Information:

Montague is a family-owned business who have been growing fruit for three generations. Founded by William (Bill) Montague (OAM) in 1948 the company is now operated by his family. In 2020 Montague activities include fruit growing, production and packing, food sales and marketing and the provision of storage and logistics services. The Montague team and their network of national and global horticulture partners are dedicated to innovation in the horticulture industry and educating consumers about the world of fresh produce.

To keep up to date with new innovations from Montague or interact with the team online, please visit:

www.montague.com.au

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Contact:

 

Nicole Townsend
Marketing Manager, Montague
M +61 432 280 313
E nicole.townsend@montague.com.au

Sonia Rendigs
Hatching Communications
M + 61 410 588 196
E sonia@hchq.com.au

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