About GMP Farms
Our farm is located in the Northern Mallee region in far North West Victoria, among the red sand hills of the remote district of Colignan, just a stone’s throw from the banks of the Murray River and a short walk to the northernmost gate of the Hattah Kulkyne National Park. We are less than an hours’ drive from the inland rural city of Mildura. Known as ‘The Weather Resort’ for as long as I can remember, this inland city is fast becoming a multicultural metropolis of inland Victoria. Mildura, and its surrounding horticultural region known as Sunraysia, is beyond the day trip threshold of most urban dwellers. Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, Mildura is a great holiday destination I would recommend at any time of the year.
The climate here in Colignan is semi arid and can be very harsh. Long hot dry conditions in spring and summer are not uncommon and dry winters with plummeting sub zero night temperatures can be relentless. Rainfall is low which means irrigation is a must for growing tree fruit crops here. The good thing about the dry climate however, is the low insect infestation risk, which helps us grow good quality organic fruit.
Specific micro climates are managed to cater for the needs of the range of varieties we grow. A blend of grass varieties are grown across the whole of our orchard floor. This ground cover is the most fundamental part of our soil management program bringing a myriad of benefits to the farm environment. Native earthworms had a strong presence on our land at the commencement of developing our farm. Today, two decades later, the population of earthworms in our soil is astronomical. This earthworm activity together with the permanent ground cover have contributed to the height of our soil rising several centimeters over the years we have managed our farm's delicate ecosystem. This healthy farm soil together with monitored inputs and water management, has provided optimal conditions for the soil food web to function at peak capacity in our orchards. Over head irrigation is combined with under tree drip irrigation; neither system will suffice on its own to successfully manage the moisture requirements of our farm. We have a system of plant health strategies which help our trees cope with challenging weather conditions. During winter, we use a frost fan as part of our frost management strategy, which produces a breeze in the orchard during times of operation.
Our farm comprises 38.44 hectares of land with approximately 14 hectares producing sustainable quantities of certified organic Imperial Gala apples, Fuji apples, Hass avocados, Ryan avocados, Lisbon lemons and Pineapple quince. Some new plantings including; Bacon avocados, Fuerte avocados, red grapefruit, Lemonade, and Wonderful Pomegranate, are coming into production with increasing amounts. The remaining land is currently undeveloped or in native vegetation.
We take great care to eliminate bruising of fruit from all sectors of our harvesting and packing systems. All of our fruit is handpicked and packed with care. Our harvest labour personnel are trained how to pick fruit without bruising it, and equipped with gloves and harvest equipment suitable for the crop they are picking. Produce is picked into containers of sufficient size which prevents compression bruising and a maximum day temperature at which harvesting operations cease is observed for each crop. Once produce has been harvested it is cooled in our on farm coolrooms and packaged in our temperature controlled packing room. All produce is packed into new cartons, palletized and returned to the coolroom where it awaits collection by refrigerated transport.
All of our produce is distributed through Australian wholesale fruit and vegetable markets where it is sold by reputable certified organic wholesalers for fresh fruit consumption. Limited quantities can be made available for processing and some produce is available through selected local retailers in Sunraysia.
The Farming Operation