Cool­store to open in 2019

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

A planned cool­store and pack­ing shed in Ard­mona is likely to be ready for use by the start of 2019.

Prima Fresh Or­chards & Cool Stores has bud­geted about $15 mil­lion to­wards the project, which will al­low Prima Fresh to ex­pand its oper­a­tions.

‘‘We cur­rently do stor­age and pack­ing ap­ples, pears, nec­tarines, cher­ries, peaches, apri­cots and plums,’’ Prima Fresh di­rec­tor Ger­ard Alampi said.

‘‘We do a lot of out-source pack­ing. With this project, we can do all that un­der one roof. It’s more stream­lined and we have more con­trol of our des­tiny.

‘‘We will now be able to keep what we would nor­mally be out-sourc­ing, in the Goul­burn Val­ley.

‘‘We out-source a lot of pro­duc­tion which is a lot of road miles and dou­ble and triple han­dling. We can cut all that out now.’’

Mr Alampi said the ex­ten­sion, which will be lo­cated on a former nut or­chard on the corner of Ard­mona Rd and Mid­land Hwy, would be good news for the Goul­burn Val­ley and the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

‘‘The in­dus­try is in hard­ship — costs are go­ing up, fruit prices have stag­nated or are less. It has been a strug­gle but this could help con­sol­i­da­tion and give ideas to other pack­ers,’’ he said.

It is not just the Goul­burn Val­ley that will ben­e­fit, with the com­pany look­ing at other places who want fruit packed and stored.

‘‘We do that al­ready and we are look­ing at grow­ing that side as well. We have grow­ers in NSW and we’d like to do more but cur­rently we can’t take on any more,’’ Mr Alampi said.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start in Novem­ber.

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