Montague

Over 73 years, Bill Montague has watched the orchard he planted in Narre Warren North grow into a $150 million-a-year apple and stone fruit business. Along the way, he’s been awarded the Order of Australia for his services to the fruit industry – and now, at the age of 95, has seen his grandchildren use state-of-the-art technology to build on these impressive foundations.

“The family just spent nearly five years and about $66 million on a processing, logistics and cold storage facility,” says Chief Innovation Officer Rowan Little. “Our new grading technology uses cameras to inspect the outside of the fruit and an infrared ray to check the inside so the same workforce can now process three times the quantity.”

Montague exports to Europe, Asia, the US and the Middle East. Thanks to their investment in innovative technology, they have the capacity to continue growing the business and targeting new markets.

Morella Grove

Morella Grove was established by the Dal Bon family in 2007. This second- and third-generation farming family have a passion for agriculture that’s seen them turn part of their commercial farming operations into an olive grove modelled on the traditional Italian method of olive farming.

The olives are grown free of chemicals using the best environmental practices, then processed and bottled using world-leading technology to achieve a standard that guarantees consistent quality. Each year, a bumper harvest delivers the ‘liquid gold’ to produce the outstanding olive oil sold under the Morella Grove label. In recent years, the Dal Bons have diversified into other products such as drizzles, dressings, balsamic vinegar, jams and even a natural olive oil soap.

This hasn’t just boosted the company’s bottom line, it’s also created an opportunity for daughter Natasha to swap her corporate career and carve out a satisfying role marketing Morella Grove’s products to distributors, providores and restaurateurs Australia wide and to the broader world online.

Whitton Malt House

A collaboration between agribusiness owners in Whitton in the NSW Riverina, the Malt House is designed to showcase the region’s produce in a fine-dining setting. “It’s really about being a regional tourism ambassador, being a platform for other businesses,” general manager Diana Williams says.

Located adjacent to Voyager Craft Malt, visitors can learn about grain production and the malting process while enjoying whiskies, craft beers and regional specialties that include sustainably fished Murray Cod. 

Alongside the restaurant, the Malt House boasts villas, a sculpture park, a driving range and a lake for catch-and-release fishing. However, the Malt House is focused not only on providing a great tourist experience, but also in meeting emerging consumer demands by sharing the narrative behind high-quality, traceable produce.

“We’re very mindful of the traceability that we can bring to people,” Williams says. “People expect we will tell the story of their produce, and that story will meet their ethical standards.”

Overcoming adversity with innovation

See how these regional and agri businesses have triumphed against the odds.

Thriving regional and agriculture businesses

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