Home' Smart Farmer : February 2015 Contents SmartFarmer • February 2015
Unique enzyme system pays off
DESIGNING and installing a unique enzyme
distribution system has not only helped the
Ceravolo family -- including fourth-generation
growers Joseph and Joyce Ceravolo -- increase
their juice yields and cut costs, it has also earned
them a SARDI award for innovation at the 2014
SA Food Awards.
"It was a massive privilege to win," Joyce said.
"I think that's the first recognition dad (Tony)
has got for the work that he's done in the time
that he's been top of his game.
"We're the only people in Australia who
have this system. That spray system was pretty
close to our hearts because we all worked on it
During the juicing process at their Ashton
Valley Fresh plant, enzymes are applied to break
down the fibres in the apples to get a better
extraction of juice. Enzymes are a huge expense,
and were previously drip-fed onto the top of the
tank -- a system Joyce thought could be dramati-
"We needed a larger surface area of spray to
make the enzymes work more effectively and we
decided we needed a spray system," she said.
"I looked and there was nothing prefabricated,
so we realised we had to make our own.
"Within the first week we realised we had a
10 per cent increase in yield, which is massive,
and a decrease in enzyme usage of up to
50pc -- incredible since enzymes are our most
Joyce said awards such as the SA Food
Awards shone a light on innovative producers
and showcased the work of local producers and
growers to the public.
"It makes people aware that the fresh produce
they consume is from state-of-the-art facilities,"
"Growers are constantly working to improve
how we get produce to people to give them a
longer shelf life or a higher quality."
Joseph and Joyce Ceravolo, Ashton Valley Fresh Juice, in their family's orchard at Ashton in the
Young Hills growers
bring fresh approach
By JACINTA ROSE
APASSION for fresh produce runs in
the blood of fourth-generation fruit
growers Joyce and Joseph Ceravolo,
Ashton, with their family's involvement in
the horticulture industry dating back 60 years
to when their great-grandfather emigrated to
Australia and operated a market garden.
The family has been growing fruit in the
Adelaide Hills for 35 years, and operate 150 hec-
tares of orchards at Nairne, Woodside, Echunga
and Ashton. Their plantings include apples,
pears, cherries and a small area of nectarines.
Joyce, 25, and Joseph, 22, joined the busi-
ness about 18 months ago after spending time
at university and working off-farm.
Joseph had been studying business manage-
ment and doing building work, while Ms
Ceravolo had studied and gained experience
across a broad range of industries.
Already a trained chemical engineer, she
then worked with dairy processor Mexican
Express -- discovering her passion for the
food industry in the process -- and recently
completed a law degree.
The siblings felt a strong pull to return
home, and are determined to build on the
innovative work of their father Tony and his
One of Tony's riskiest decisions -- but one
that has certainly paid dividends -- was to
build an on-site juicing plant at the height of a
"Seven years ago there was a massive drop in
the price of juicing apples," Ms Ceravolo said.
"Growers would be selling them interstate
and essentially paying the freight and not
getting paid for their apples. Dad decided he
was going to dump his juice apples rather
than push them into a flooded market, and
that's when he realised that he needed to do
something, because we're one of the largest
apple growers in SA.
"Dad has a talent for being a bit of a vision-
ary. He brought in someone really experienced
in the juice industry to help set up the plant
to make sure it was viable before we started.
I think he put in place every control he could
without being able to tell the future.
"He takes risks, but they're calculated and
I think that's why he does so well in this
Fourth generation joins family business
Local growers also supply fruit
Packing line undergoes upgrades
Ashton Valley Fresh juice has become
a popular fixture in many independent
greengrocers, with the range including still
and sparkling apple and pear juice, and blends
with cherry, passionfruit, strawberry, carrot
They began by selling juice under their
Ashton Valley Fresh brand, before secur-
ing bulk contracts which have become the
foundation of the business.
"We didn't start off with any customers, so
we bottled our own juice for the first year,
and then slowly bigger orders started coming
in." she said.
"We had Nippy's come on board in the
first or second year, and the Hills Cider
Company came on board that year as well,
and things have steadily grown from there."
Nippy's purchases the family's juice in
bulk, before further processing and mixing
it to create the juices seen in supermarkets
and cafés across the state.
Their Ashton Valley Fresh juice has
become a popular fixture in many independ-
ent greengrocers, with the range including
still and sparkling apple and pear juice, as
well as blends with cherry, passionfruit,
strawberry, carrot and pomegranate.
"We're lucky here in SA - we have well-
educated customers who know what good,
premium food is, and they're happy to pay
for it, whether you're in cheese, wine or
juice," Ms Ceravolo said.
Ms Ceravolo, who is Ashton Valley Fresh's
quality assurance and research and develop-
ment manager, and production manager
Joseph, have been heavily involved in an
ongoing upgrade of the juicing plant.
"We're just upgrading our plant because
we were running at double the capacity we
were designed to run at, and that meant
really long shifts, and if we had a breakdown
it would take ages to catch up again," she
"We've got a new press which has a capac-
ity 10 times the old one, and that's really
While most of the fruit crushed for juice
comes off the Ceravolo family's orchards,
they do purchase fruit from local growers,
and were the first company to offer a
guaranteed price year-round.
"By setting a year-round price, we know
that we'll have supply all year round, because
when other people start squeezing their
suppliers and dropping the price, they know
they can just come here," she said.
"While we're a competitive apple and pear
market amongst ourselves, we also have a
mentality that helping each other out is the
best way to help the industry as a whole.
Part of the company's strength is a willing-
ness to invest in their infrastructure and
ensure the packing and juicing plant is fitted
with modern equipment.
"We're upgrading our packing line at the
moment, and it's going to utilise some pretty
impressive technology," Ms Ceravolo said.
Investing heavily in a top-of-the-range
cherry sorting machine had also brought in
work from outside.
"We do contract-pack a lot of cherries
because we have a state-of-the-art machine,
which sorts cherries based on weight and
colour, rather than just size," Ms Ceravolo
CONTACT STOLLER AUSTRALIA ON FREECALL
1800 337 845 OR INFO@STOLLER.COM.AU
on't let unpredictable weather,
volatile markets or the latest
'silver bullet' cut your returns.
Take control with toller's
nutritional programs -- reliable,
researched, return on investment.
Links Archive Dec 2014 - Jan 2015 March 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page