Kevin & Cindy’s Organics farm is located in Cadell in South Australia and has been owned by the family for 26 years. Their crop consists of apricots, pears, peaches, plums, wine grapes and a few vegetables that all grown using certified organic methods. You won’t find any chemicals that harm your health or the rich soil biodiversity here but you will find ducks roaming the property keeping the snails under control.
In 2005 the Legg Farm become certified for health reasons and so as to receive better returns for the quality produce coming from the farm. They gained a fully certified organic status with NASAA in 2007 and “realise now it was the best decision we have ever made” states Wendy.
The stone fruit and pears are packed fresh for markets around Australia and off they go. The excess fruit not sent to market is cut and sun-dried using the power of the almighty sun. The drying process is very labour intensive but the quality of the produce is worth it and it minimises its impact on the environment.
Fruit picking occurs usually from November – February at optimum ripeness and is then kept in cool room between 0-4°C. Then it is sorted on belts for defects and over-ripeness prior to cutting. Then the cutting machine cuts fruit into halves, removes stones and places fruit ‘cup up’ on trays to then be moved to drying area. The trays are placed on racks outside in direct sunlight. This process can take up to 2 weeks before the fruit is completely dry, depending on weather conditions and fruit varieties.
When dried, fruit is removed from trays , placed into crates in cool room to maintain quality. Fruit is then re- sorted , washed and . placed on racks to shake of excess moisture and put in breezeway to dry. Placed into crates overnight with a sealed plastic bag over the top to equilibrate. When the fruit reaches the correct “aw” reading as determined by the paw kit meter, it is then ready to pack.
Fruit is sorted on belts again for final inspection, then packaged, labeled, logged, weighed, passed through a metal detector and sealed. Boxes are then stacked on a pallet and put back into the cool room awaiting dispatch.
It’s not often we get to understand the full process required to get fruit from the trees to your hand we hope this understanding gives consumers a better understanding of the work our Australian farmers undertake and why you might pay a little more than that imported from overseas.
Wendy & Kevin do not use any Sulphur or Preservatives with their dried fruit either. Keeping it natural, organic and exactly as mother nature intended provides you with the highest quality, tastiest dried fruit available on the market.
We love to support Australian farmers like this. Keeping it real, distributing it as locally as possible and preserving the beautiful ecological surroundings where they operate using organic agriculture methods.
Beyond this, if you have ever wondered why the plastic packaged apricots you find in a supermarket are orange, this is because sulphur is applied prior to drying resulting in the colour being kept. The impact of this however……… a proposed side-effect is respiratory problems and in reality, why the heck would you!