Australian fresh produce company Nutrano Produce Group has begun harvesting earl-season Imperial mandarins at its Abbotsleigh farm in Central Burnett, Queensland.
Simon Raj, Nutrano’s general manager of sales and marketing, said the company was “thrilled” with its crop of Imperials this year, reporting high sugar levels and fantastic eating quality.
“It has been a balancing act of pruning to deliver the ideal crop load, and the right fertigation and nutrition programmes to achieve consistency in high quality fruit and good fruit size,” Raj explained.
“We think we’ve got it right this year with our fruit exceeding Australian Citrus Standards, achieving Brix level average 10.7-12.1 … and juice level averaging 40 per cent. The fruit’s size profile is over the 60mm ringmark and averaging 65mm.”
Nutrano is also in the midst of its lemon harvest at the Abbotsleigh property. Raj said the lemon crop was exceeding the company’s quality expectations, with plenty of fruit available for sale in Australia and overseas.
The Abbotsleigh lemon brand has developed a loyal customer base in Australia and around the world, with customers drawn to the fruit’s smooth skin, thin rind, juicy texture and low seed count. To meet the growing consumer demand, an additional 16.94ha of lemons was recently planted at Abbotsleigh, with another 32ha planned in the coming months.
Trials involving a new Phytech technology to refine irrigation of fruit trees is also underway at Abbotsleigh. By monitoring plant health and water use, Nutrano hopes to find a more effective and efficient method of achieving desirable fruit size and sugar levels.
George Haggar, chief executive of Nutrano Produce Group, said the company was enforcing strict hygiene and social distancing protocols as Australia continues to manage the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“It’s business as usual across all 13 Nutrano sites across Australia as we continue to harvest, pack and supply quality fresh produce so Australians have access to healthy fresh fruit,” Haggar explained.
“The dedication and commitment from our entire team has been exceptional. There is a strong sense of teamwork and co-operation that has been entrenched in our culture since the Covid-19 pandemic escalated which has translated into a shared commitment to growing, packing and selling fruit that our customers – and their customers – can trust.”