Source: Australian Organic
A family that has been growing stone fruits for four generations has achieved organic certification status, making it one of Australia’s largest organic stone fruit producers, Australian Organic reports. The Free family near Swan Hill, Victoria, supplies major supermarkets and organic retailers with nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots. On the conventional market, the Frees were well known by the trade name Free Fresh Fruit, now they are Alkira Organic certified by Australian Certified Organic. Alkira Organic is part of the Wattle Organic Farms group.
This season is the first time the Frees have sold certified organic fruit and for them it realises a long held desire to supply consumers with a genuine healthy product at a fair price. The Free family started farming on 50 hectares in 1944. They never fully followed mainstream farming practices so taking on biological farming and becoming certified organic was a natural progression.
Alkira Organics is supporting the new consumer initiative the Bud Organic Club that was developed by Australian Organic (formerly Biological Farmers of Australia, BFA) to educate people about organic farming and the benefits of buying organic food and fibre.
Organics is one of Australia’s top five growth industries and the organic stone fruit industry is valued at over AUD6m (about €4.8m). Retailers have struggled to keep up with demand, according the 2012 Australian Organic Market Report.