ONE of Australia’s leading apple growers, Montague, has launched four new proprietary-grown apples onto the national market. Montague, which owns and operates five orchards across Victoria, Tasmania and NSW, announced the new apples last week. Smitten, envy, eve and ambrosia apples, all grown from breeding programs, have a projected crop of 12.6 million kilograms by 2020.
Montague’s general manager of business development and IP Rowan Little said the company would also launch a horticulture and apple production tourism development in Narre Warren North. The $45 million Export Distribution and Engagement Centre will be completed by 2020 and showcase best practice and latest technologies in fresh fruit production.
Mr Little said the centre would feature an experimental orchard with examples of water conservation, crop protection, rootstock technology and variety innovation. “The whole project estimates to generate additional revenue of $50 million per annum from domestic fruit sales, increased export opportunities and revenue from the centre’s tourism and hospitality offering,” Mr Little said, adding the centre would create 100 new jobs.
“Montague estimates high visitation from the Asian market with an increase in export sales from $4 million to $20 million per annum.” A decade ago Montague sold its first proprietary-grown apple, jazz, and now produces more than 15 million kilograms of apples, pears and stone fruit annually.
Mr Little said this winter the third-generation company would plant the first 2000 trees of new red-fleshed apples. He said Montague was also breeding shinano gold, a cross between a golden delicious and senshu apple.