PFP Pty Ltd trading as Pacific Fresh was formed in 1993 by a group of individual citrus growers in the Riverina.
In 1996 the shareholders decided to merge their operations together, thereby shutting down their individual packing houses and moving all their operations into one central and updated location based half way between Yanco and Leeton, NSW. This has helped Pacific Fresh to ensure that they can maintain a high standard of quality for all their customers.
Leeton, NSW is located in the Riverina and is the heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, approximately 550kms south west from Sydney, 500kms north of Melbourne and 850kms east of Adelaide. Leeton is a showcase of contemporary rural Australia with its Art Deco history, diverse agriculture and renowned country hospitality.
Pacific Fresh is owned and managed by 8 shareholders/directors, who are mostly 3rd generation farmers and collectively own up to 1,900 acres of citrus varieties and grape vines. Pacific Fresh has a 12% share of citrus grown in the Riverina and packs and markets a wide range of citrus varieties including; Summer Navels, Late Lane Navels, Cara Cara Navels, Valencia’s, Lemons, Grapefruit and the new Dekopon mandarin variety known as the Sumo Citrus.
Pacific Fresh exports their quality local citrus to Canada, UK, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India and Middle East markets including, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and into the USA (as a shareholder of Riversun Export Pty Ltd).
Having suffered crop losses due to frost in May 2017, Pacific Fresh contacted Australian Frost Fans to investigate the opportunity to install frost fans. After a meeting in February 2018, 3 of the growers decided to install 9 FrostBoss® C49 (4-blade) frost fans. Australian Frost Fans provided layouts for the fans and managed the Development Application process through Leeton Shire Council. All the fans were installed by early May in time to protect against frost damage through the winter months.
The FrostBoss® machines proved themselves through the winter months of 2018 to the extent that the same 3 growers want to install more machines on their farms in 2019 and the remaining grower shareholders in Pacific Fresh also want to install machines on their farms.
Frank Mercuri, Chairman of Pacific Fresh explains, “we put in 2 frost fans in April 2018 in blocks of 18 months old Lemons and Navels. In the winter of 2017, we had many severe frosts in our area with temperatures dropping to minus 5.5ºC and had severe frost damage on our trees with some having to be replaced because of the frost damage. So, we decided to install 2 frost fans in these blocks. In the winter of 2018, there was hardly any damage in the same blocks where the frost fans have been installed and we had temperatures of minus 6.3ºC so they do work. This year we are installing 5 more frost fans.”
Grower/shareholder Marcello Mallamace has 5 fans. He says whilst he’d be happy with a yield of 40 tonnes per hectare for his Valencia’s, he’s now hoping to get 50 – 60 tonnes per hectare.
Frost fans are an insurance policy. By saving the trees and gaining a full crop, the fans pay for themselves quickly and provide supply security and consistent fruit quality for the packing shed and for our customers.