9 Mile Fresh, 9 Mile Road Tynong
On a cold day Women on Farms members spent the day fascinated by apples bobbing about in water. The Thompson family Battunga Orchards and the Ajani family Bon View Orchards have developed site where the apple is centre stage. A large shed houses a purpose built production line incorporating world best technology with great staff to provide fresh apples throughout Australia.
Apples sorted in the morning in Tynong are on the shelves of supermarkets in Sydney by 8am the next day. Supply is even quicker to Melbourne outlets.
The whole set up utilizes the best systems from around the world. German, Italian and Dutch technology is used in the washing and apple-sorting machine. Robotic bin movers feature at the beginning and end of the sorting line. Traditional wooden bins full of apples come from the cold storage rooms where they have been kept cool at 1% oxygen since picking. These bins are picked up and immersed in a vat of water, the apples float out and around to the sorting machine, having first passed an operator who picks out any badly blemished apples and leaves. Then the magic happens, the apples pass through a machine where each individual apple is photographed 100 times and goes into an individual numbered cradle. This machine can identify 800,000 apples per day at 40 per second.
The apples then proceed to where there are about 50 sorting channels and they are delivered to the same specifications in each line. Size and colour being the main criteria. The apples are still bobbing about in water until 330 kg of one type is amassed. Then they are automatically shunted along the race and into a bin. This bin is delivered to a set place for collection by a forklift driver to be taken to a correct packing line or cold storage.
Apples are then floated out of this bin, they can be waxed with natural bees wax if required, air-dried and then packed by people into trays, or punnets. The punnets are automatically wrapped in the label required, stacked in trays or boxes, onto a pallet and dispatched for delivery. Apples are also bagged with tight weight specifications maintained .
Attention to providing a great product at the correct specifications has resulted in a successful company. Thank you to Rob for sharing his enthusiasm for apples with us.