Meet the farmer-turned-juice producer who appeared on River Cottage Australia.
Citrus farmer, Lou Sartor, was brought up in Griffith, NSW, to north Italian parents.
Lou’s father Giulio started growing oranges back in the 1950s and his son has continued the family farm on and has recently branched into juice production under the label, AusGrown. Griffith is now at the heart of NSW’s citrus growing region.
A keen gardener, Lou and his wife have an incredible garden, which they open to the public every year.
What is AusGrown?
AusGrown is a citrus juice company run by four citrus farmers from Griffith who grow all their own fruit, bottle it and distribute to retail outlets in the Riverina. Squeezing out the middle man has allowed them to keep complete control over their product and ensure its provenance is kept intact.
With over one hundred years’ of farming in their blood, the families that comprise Ausgrown have a combined citrus production area of over 900 acres, and grow over 10,000 tonne of citrus. Varieties range from lemons and limes, mandarins, grapefruit, navel and Valencia oranges, and mouth watering blood oranges.
Where can I buy it?
In Griffith, AusGrown is sold in a few local supermarkets, such as IGA stores, and the local Italian-run bakery called Bertoldo’s.
What happens at a juicing plant?
The AusGrown factory can process 20 tonnes of fruit per day. AusGrown adds NO preservatives, additives or concentrates of any kind.
Lou's tips for caring for your young citrus trees:
• Plant in a well drained area. Citrus can get diseased at their roots if they stay wet too long. Your soil type also has an affect of drainage, for example if there is too much clay you might want to add gypsum or dolomite
• Consider the wind – you want to protect young trees from wind
• On young trees, wrap silver foil around bottom of trunk to discourage shoot growth down there. You want to direct shoots to the top of the tree
• Water every two or three days. Not too much at a time, but regularly.
• Also, citrus are very nitrogen hungry so cow manure would be a good feed option.
• Also, manganese and zinc (folier spray) - zinc helps it fruit. Look for natural fertiliser.
Learn about Australia's citrus industry*
The Riverina has approximately 30 per cent of all Australia’s citrus production, average total production of 180,000 tonnes & citrus plantings equate to approximately 8,500 hectares.
Citrus is one of most important horticultural industries in NSW with a production area of around 13,000 hectares. The Australian citrus industry is the largest fresh fruit exporter in Australia worth in excess of $200 million annually. NSW produces around 250,000 tonnes of citrus annually representing 40 per cent of Australian production and 36 per cent of citrus exports.
The largest and most important production areas in NSW are in the Riverina and Murray Valley regions.
The main citrus fruits grown in NSW are navel and Valencia oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes and grapefruit.
For more information:
*Statistics via www.rdariverina.org.au