Raisin’ a glass to grape growers | Rabobank Australia Client
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#ThankAFarmer: Raisin’ a glass to grape growers

Next time you enjoy a delicious raisin-filled sweet, or sip on a glass of wine while nibbling on a cheese and dried fruit platter, try raising a toast to the Lory family and other Australian grape growers.

John and Jennie Lory, and their son, Luke, grow dried grapes – a sultana type grape and currant – as well as wine grapes on their family property at Loxton in South Australia.

They grow about 40 hectares of each, producing about 1100 to 1300 tonnes of wine grapes and about 350 tonnes of dried fruit each year.

It’s a labour of love for the Lorys, who migrated to Australia from England in 1994 to make a fresh start in grape growing in Australia, leaving behind the mixed farm where they worked with John’s father.

“I’ve always had a fascination for growing things, I have quite a practical bent and I’d rather be outside doing something than be in an office. Our business enables me to keep doing what I like,” John said.

These days, you can find the family’s dried fruits, packaged under both the Sunbeam and Australian Premium Dried Fruits (APDF) labels, in major supermarkets and independent grocers.

“The big supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths carry Sunbeam while IGA (independent grocers) carry both lines,” Jennie said.

In addition, their wine grapes go to a grower’s group, CCW Co-operative Limited, which sells them to Accolade Wines, whose brands include Hardy Wines.

Despite Covid-19, there’s been no slowing down for the Lorys – in fact, they finished harvesting their latest crop of dried fruits only a few weeks ago.

The fruit is produced by growing vines, similar to ordinary vineyard wine grapes, on trellises, with fruiting canes on one side of the vine and replacements canes on the other.

“Come harvest time, we cut all the canes which bear the fruit and leave them there to dry out. It takes a few weeks for the fruit to dry down to the point where it can be harvested straight into bins,” John explained.

With the last load of dried fruit from the latest harvest ready to be picked up, Jennie said Covid-19 had had no impact on their business or supply chain.

“We are operating as we normally do, but with a greater awareness of hygiene and everyone separated doing their own job."

“There is one person on the harvester, one dealing with trailers and one dealing with boxes,” Jennie added.

Jennie remains confident about an ongoing supply of food being available for all Australians.

“It’s nice living in a country where I feel we are dealing with our food chain quite adequately. It’s quite a reassuring feeling.”

“And with technology constantly progressing, Australia is a good place to be farming,” she said.

Photo credits: Dried Fruits Australia

 

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