In 1978 about 100 Orange-region orchardists banded together to get a fair price for their apples.
Now, 40 years later, the number of shareholder members has fallen to 37, but the determination to make their co-operative continue to bear fruit has them looking forward.
The Appledale Processors Co-operative provides juice from Orange apples to processors in NSW, Victoria and Queensland and provides the base for several cider makers.
All the shareholders are apple growers.
Chairman Joe Caltabiano said they started by providing concentrated apple juice but were eventually beaten by Chinese producers who could sell their product cheaper.
Now they concentrate on making and selling quality.
“We’ve had a quality juice for some time, quality is what counts,” he said.
He said the cider market would be an avenue for future growth from Appledale.
“Cider is a direction we will be probably looking at in the next five years,” he said.
General manager Jess Crombie said cider was becoming more mainstream.
“Cider has had growth on growth for the last five years,” she said.
Cider is a direction we will be probably looking at in the next five years.Appledale Processors Co-operative Chairman Joe Caltabiano
When the co-operative started the growers had an excess of juice but now with less growers in the area there was a shortage.
The co-operative has bought an orchard at Springside with 15,000 trees which they were now using to supplement produce from the shareholder orchardists.
Director Michael Cunial said the orchard was harvested mechanically.
“It’s an Australian-first to do mechanical harvesting,” he said.
Fellow director David Gartrell said the money saved on hand picking was being used to help employ full-time staff at the orchard.
He said the co-operative had its ups and downs over the past 40 years.
“We’ve had a gradual increase in our juice price which has been fantastic,” he said.
“[But] manufacturing in Australia now is bloody hard, you are being attacked from every end.”
Shareholder Guy Gaeta said the co-operative had been a saviour for growers.
“If this place wasn't here we'd be giving them away,” Mr Gaeta said.
BUYERS SOUGHT FOR MOUNTAIN TEA HOUSE
The Mountain Tea House at Mount Canobolas has closed.
Owners Rob and Carol Thornton are now looking for buyers to take over and re-open the business on the route to the summit.
She said the previous leaseholder had to end the lease early in April.
The Thorntons are still continuing to run the adjacent cabins for accommodation but she said they did not have the time to operate both operations.
She said they could not subdivide them.
“We’re selling the business itself and the goodwill,” she said.
“It’s a brilliant location. It has a very high probability of being an excellent business.
“It needs to be run seven days a week to get the maximum profit.”
She said she had received many phone calls from prospective customers.
BAKEHOUSE FEEDS CUSTOMER DEMAND
Customer demand has led the Village Bakehouse Orange to undertake its first renovation since opening two years ago to create more seats.
Store manager of the Peisley Street business, Taylor Stevenson, said they had moved the coffee bar from the front of the shop to create 15 more seats.
“We fill up too quickly on the weekends and some other times,” he said.
That led to customers being unable to get a seat at their busiest times.
Mr Stevenson said the renovation work started two weeks ago and they had been able to keep operating around the work with upholstering due for completion this week.
He said having an in-store operating bakery was popular with customers.
“The theatre of the bakery is quite enjoyable to watch,” he said.
ANSON STREET COFFEE SHOP IS UP FOR SALE
An Orange coffee shop and adjacent frozen yoghurt store are up for sale.
Venue Cafe & Bar in Anson Street has seating for 80 people inside and 20 people outside.
An advertisement from the selling agents Manenti Quinlan & Associates from Sydney said the shop was trading successfully.
“The cafe is currently run under management and is trading very well and over $1 million has been spent on the fit-out,” it said.
“There is also a second business selling Frozen Yoghurt that is included with this business and this also has a high quality fit-out.”