Our story begins with the Goulburn Valley Food Co-Op which started when Heinz closed their tomato sauce factory in Girgarre. The Co-Op recently released their first product - a pasta and sauce combination pack made from GV tomatoes in family owned GV processing plants. Through this release they raised a great deal of attention to what is happening to production chains in the GV and the totally disproportionate way profits are distributed across the chain, with farmers getting a raw deal to the point that many are no longer making a living at all.
A GV pear grower – Dario Pulsoni – saw what the Co-Op was up to and wanted to help. He had just been contracted to grow 40 tonne of pears for a large processing company (for $50 a tonne!!!!!) but at the last moment they decided they only wanted 30 tonne so he was stuck with the remaining 10. He donated these pears to the Co-Op in the hope they could use them and at this point we decided to make cider.
We paid Dario $300 a tonne for the pears which means we’ll still make a decent margin and he gets fair pay for fair work. We started a company called Faire Ferments to manage the production and sale of the cider and we’re hoping with any luck we’ll be able to stop farmers having to pull their pear trees out of the ground and instead rouse some value adding to GV primary industries.