Newton Brothers Orchards is situated in Manjimup, in the heart of Western Australia’s beautiful Southern Forests region. A family owned and operated business for over 80-years, Newton Brothers Orchards has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the most progressive and respected pome and stone fruit producers Australia-wide.
Combined, the four Manjimup properties comprise one of the largest orchard and pack-house facilities in WA, providing employment for 35 permanent and up to 70 casual or seasonal staff.
Brothers George and Harold Newton were just 16 and 15 years old when they left their family behind in England and set out to make a new life in Australia. Their 1927 crossing cost £10 each, sponsored by the Young Australia League on the condition the pair worked for two years on allotted farms in the Margaret River area.
In 1929, the intrepid Newton boys travelled to Manjimup and bought 100 acres for £400, building their first house on the property from bits of corrugated iron, hessian sacks and boards hand-hewn from the native karri trees. Through the hard and lean years of depression and war the brothers held onto their land, cleared the timber, planted vegetable and then fruit crops, purchased more land and slowly developed their trade.
By the 1950s, Newton Brothers Orchards was beginning to develop its present-day reputation for premium quality fruit, innovative growing methods and cool storage for outside growers. While George’s six children – Carole, Valmai, Rosalie, Lynette, Maureen and Barry – and 12 grandchildren all worked in the orchards or pack-house at some stage, for several years the business has been owned and run solely by George’s son-in-law, Harvey Giblett.
Harvey Giblett works full time as NBO’s Managing Director. The past two years have seen the third generation begin working alongside him. His eldest daughter Nicole lives on farm and assists a Board of Management member; Nicole’s partner Paul Good is both Finance Officer and Organic Orchard Manager; his son Michael Giblett is now assisting in the capacity of Off-Farm Investment Manager; and his youngest daughter Lucinda Giblett is HR and Communications Manager.
On the farm with Harvey
What's your favourite apple?
“That’s a really hard question! But it is probably the Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady™).” Lucinda says it’s hard to beat the very first Royal Gala of the season in late February.
What do you love about growing apples?
“I love the challenge of producing a premium product, an apple that looks good, and is really crunchy, crisp, and sweet. The challenge is to get it right; that’s what I enjoy most.”
What would you say to OZ consumer?
“I believe that we live in the lucky country, because our food is produced in one of the cleanest and greenest growing environments in the world. Everyone should appreciate how lucky we are to be able to enjoy that. Consumers should consider where their food is grown when they purchase it. We produce their food in such a pristine environment; we’d hope that local produce would be the automatic first choice over imported fruit.”
Our markets can be approximately represented as five percent international, 30 per cent eastern seaboard and the remainder Perth domestic. Internationally we supply major supermarket chains in the UK such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda. In 2010, we will be trying a new contract with Coles that will see us selling around 60% of our fruit direct to Coles WA.
In the Australian eastern states, our major customer is N and A Fruit Distributors, major operators at Sydney’s Flemington Markets. We also supply direct to major supermarket chains Coles, Woolworths, Independents and Aldi. In the Western Australian market we supply to Coles and other independents through the Canning Vale Markets, for example Herdsman Fresh.