Article by: Hari Yellina
Next year, a Tasmanian organic apple grower hopes to introduce a new variety to the Australian market. R&R Smith owns the commercial rights to Kizuri (marketed in Europe as Morgana), a Belgian cultivar. Marketing and Communications Manager Jessica Calvert said the company is now working on a name for the Australian market and will debut the name and brand later this year. “With the backing of Woolworths Organic Growth Fund, we are spearheading the development and are in the process of growing and marketing this new type,” she said. “Between now and 2028, more than 300,000 trees will be planted as part of this large-scale, long-term project. The apple is large, crisp, and juicy, and it stores well.”
Royal Gala (available all year), Fuji (available March-September), Pink Lady (available April-November), and Jazz In Conversion are among the apples grown by the firm (available August-December). Andrew Smith, orchardist and managing director, concedes that pome fruit production in Tasmania has been difficult this year, particularly under a certified organic management plan. Mr Smith explained, “From flowering in October through the end of December, spring rain was steady, followed by an extended dry spell and late fall shut down.” “In the Huon Valley, there was also considerable hail damage, which killed a few producers.” In 2022/23, we anticipate a return to more regular weather patterns.”
This season, they will harvest over 3000 tonnes of fruit from our own farms, which is a record for them. “Independent stores such as Harris Farm in NSW and Hill Street Grocers in Tasmania sell our apples. We provide wholesalers across the country. We’ve also had a long-standing connection with Woolworths, and have been supplying them under their premium organic Macro brand since 2006. R&R Smith Organic apples are available at Woolworths in compostable packaging.” Mr Smith believes a crucial aspect of the company’s aim is to evolve and adapt to ever-changing markets, with an ethos of continual improvement. R&R Smith is a fourth-generation Tasmanian maker.
Since 1998, the company has been certified organic, and it switched over 20 years ago in order to accelerate growth in the area. “We don’t use any synthetic pesticides or disease control, and we’re always working to enhance soil and tree health to increase the quality of our fruit and reduce our environmental effect,” he stated. “Organic farming is a holistic approach to agriculture that considers the health of the soil, trees, and people engaged as a single system. “We are certified organic by NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia). We are committed to the main principles of organic agriculture, which include environment, fairness, caring, and health.
We also set out to be Australia’s first organic apple orchard to use 100% certified home compostable packaging, which we just started doing this month.” He went on to say that demand for certified organic products is continuing to rise as people become more concerned about their health and want to know where their food comes from. We continue to expand our business in response to demand “Mr. Smith explained. “We also believe that our customers desire more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic, which is why we are excited to create the first totally compostable package for our pre-packaged fruit. We chose TIPA for our produce because of its high regulatory certifications, which ensure authenticity and food-safe processing from the orchard to the consumer.”