Fruit Grower Montegue is constructing a new fruit processing facility in Narre Warren North. It is a multi-use facility located on a 12-hectare plot of land at the boundary of Lysterfield Park and Horswood Road. The complex will process over 260,000,000 pieces of fruit annually, which will be distributed to markets across Australia and the world. The project will also comprise a café, retail space, apple and stone fruit sales, public picking orchard, seasonal exhibition space, bike shop and open space lawns available all of which will be open to the public.
The project is planned to launch in phases with the build of the 53,200m2 fruit processing facility set to complete at the end of this year. Installation of packing equipment is scheduled to commence in mid-September, which will mean the new stone fruit grader will be operational from mid-January 2021 and all apple production lines fully operational from mid-March 2021, in time for next year’s apple season.
The development showcases local construction materials including recycled timber from the original barns that were located on the property and features natural products with distinctive earthy tones to reflect the surroundings flora from the recreational reserve and orchards. The internal and external concrete slabs will be completed in September with the main building structure and roof completed in early October.
The Montague hospitality development, which is the first public access amenity created by Montague, will be open by mid-January 2021. The name of the café and public orchard will be unveiled in November.
“Consumer research shows that Australian’s want to know where their food comes from and how it is handled before reaching the retail stores,” said Rowan Little, chief innovation officer. “From February 2021, visitors can join us to learn first-hand about fruit production while enjoying a coffee and pick some apples for themselves.”
The project had been impacted by the stage 4 restriction in Victoria, with construction operating at a limited capacity since the 5th of August. However, the Victorian State Government recognised Montague as critical and essential providers of fresh fruit to Australians and granted special permission for construction to resume at an increased capacity.
Montague has implemented a High-Risk COVID-Safe plan and continue to adhere to all ongoing directions, recommendations and guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding recommended measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission and ensure a safe working environment for everybody working on the project.