Stone fruit season is getting into full swing, with the nectarines, cherries, peaches, plums and apricots ripening to plump perfection on the trees by the minute. In the Swan Hill area of North West Victoria, Cutri Fruit has over 650 acres of them—with capacity for more.
Tell us about Cutri Fruit:
Cutri Fruit started back in 1983 has two different growing locations; the inaugural property at Woorinen and the more recently acquired property at Wood Wood, another 30km away. Both are in the Swan Hill area, in North-West Victoria, on the banks of the mighty Murray River. Due to the farms’ close proximity to the River, water supply is not an issue.
What conditions are required to grow stone fruits?
Both locations have superior growing conditions, with Wood Wood’s soil being some of the best in the district. The region is renowned for its high penetration rates of the sun and high chill units, ensuring high brix (sweetness) levels and optimal colour, size & flavour of the fruit. Due to the excellent growing conditions in this region, our fruit is some of the earliest high-chill stone fruits to come into production each season.
Radio-wave technology is in place across the properties to feed back vital information to the Irrigation and Farm Managers as well as to the central computer in order to be able to monitor the precise needs of the trees.
Cutri Fruit is leading the way in automated stone fruit tree fertigation and nutrigation, and is constantly seeking to improve itself to be a truly world-class business.
What types of fruit do you grow?
Cutri fruit produces five varieties of apricots, 10 varieties of plum, dozens of yellow and white nectarine varieties and yellow and white peaches.
When are they harvested/available?
Plums: January to March
Apricots: November and December
Nectarines: October to February
Peaches: November to March
Tell us about the logistics side of the business:
As the business continues to grow, Cutri Fruit has also expanded into logistics, running its own trucks from Swan Hill to Melbourne on a daily basis. This ensures a timely arrival of our fruit into all destinations, and allows us to track the fruit’s whereabouts at all times.
The packing facility has its own loading docks, where the fruit can be loaded straight from the coolroom into the refrigerated trucks, giving our customers the freshest possible product, as we can ensure the coolchain is never broken.
What is involved in packing such large quantities?
CUTRI FRUIT has a brand new truly world-class packing facility with the best technology available to sort, grade, pack and store fruit. Our Compac fruit grader is at the forefront of fruit sorting technology, with blemish grading and IR technology enabled. The facility is fully insulated, so even when the temperature is scorching outside, the packing facility stays at an optimal cool temperature so the fruit stays fresher longer.
With the capability of packing roughly 80 bins per hour, the new grader is one of the best in the industry. The cool storage rooms have both variable speed fans (to reduce fruit shrinkage) and forced air cooling, which rapidly reduce the pulp temperature of the fruit to below 0 degree Celsius, as required for optimal exporting conditions.
Our fruit is unloaded and then again loaded (once packed) directly onto our trucks straight from the coolstore, ensuring the coolchain is not broken resulting in optimal quality fruit and the freshest possible product to the end consumer.
Tell us about your sustainability practices:
At Cutri Fruit we value the environment and take pride in promoting our common practices in sustaining a clean, green environment. Over the years we have had great success in creating opportunity to give back to the environment by:
- Turning our perished stone-fruit into compost
- Where possible, using natural and organic fertilisers
- Implementing a recycling station within the office and throughout all aspects of the business.