We had a wonderful working bee on the last weekend in July to clear the property, commence landscaping, and prepare for reopening on the weekends. I can’t thank enough the 30 plus people who showed up over the two days for their back-breaking work and support of what I am trying to achieve – I
I decided to pick lemons and prune quince trees today, but the overgrown orchard also benefitted from my motivation in secateuring the thick weed between trees by hand – 3 rows down, 5 to go. I’m sure there are tools to do this (no, I cannot mow over the irrigation line), but right now I’m
“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon. Edward Lear
I’m lucky enough to have seasonal access to around 70 local quince trees, planted well over 40 years ago. Until
I looked back at my newsletter from this time last year, and all we had at our new home was a concrete slab! All the stress to finish building, get utilities working, and start manufacturing, seems a world away.
Here’s where we started over 5 years ago compared to the factory we have now built
Still waiting on Yarra Valley Water and CFA requirements to install pipework to water meter, a fire hydrant and hose reels – another $30k unbudgeted expense! This is before we can enclose the trenches and begin beautifying the property.
We are, however, underway on the shop… After some clever advice, we spray painted the roof
We got gas – finally! The metre was installed on 23/8 and we recommenced full blown production on Monday 27th August – 2 months after the move…. Such a relief!
Now, if we can just get the CFA regulations sorted (which our surveyor should have actioned over the past 16 months!), the construction would be
Well our move is still proving challenging! We are still without gas to cook our jams, chutney/relishes and jellies so have quite a few out of stocks. After waiting two weeks, we have discovered we have another two to go, so have now bought in the camp burners to go back to pot cooking –
We moved! Well, partially….
We relocated out of our old digs into this beauty on June 28th, however, with no power or gas on site, we’ve had to move cooking back to Mt Evelyn. We finally achieved power connection this week, but still unsure on gas. There may be a few stock issues over the
Still not at lock-up just yet! Windows have arrived after a long hold up in the design and standards departments, but hopefully we can now motor ahead….
We finally cleared the old concrete slab from down the side which took a few days, filling an old dam that wasn’t in use. We’ve compacted it down
As you can see, we’ve been hard at work coating the back warehouse floor (that’s Mum and Colleen!) and filling, sanding and painting the large back wall of the top warehouse (that’s Stefan on the scissor lift).
We still have a lot of painting to go…
We are not yet at lock-up, just awaiting the
Here’s an aerial shot (high up on a scissor lift!)….impressive, hey? So much of the structure is in place, giving us a true sense of how much space we will have. We hope to have the roof on in the next few weeks and the colorbond shed also finished in that time frame. Our deadline
The lower level internal structure has been erected so we can actually walk through rooms and visual the size – it makes it so much more real!
The back two sections of colorbond shed needed a crane, and people power, to fix the roof in place.
Over the next few weeks we’ll see the upstairs
Surprisingly, the builders have been busy over December/January and commenced the internal frames. It’s wonderful to see the structure begin to take shape….
Here’s a design drawing of what our future home will look like – front retail/produce store and back manufacturing plant, with a greenhouse off to the side. I look forward to the day when I can post the actual image of this!
Right now – we have a concrete slab!
Well the weather has not been kind! Our builders did not really see the funny side of their ruined trenches.. Give them credit though – they did show up! It’s a slow journey…. hopefully more to see soon.
The ground has been broken! Well, for excavation anyway… The removal of the old concrete slab to make way for the new has been rather a large effort. Look at all that concrete – and it is, sadly, unusable. We have an old dam at the top of the property which is quite derelict (it
So the greenhouse is up! It’s not powered yet but the structure is finished – giving us a lovely, warm environment to store our farm equipment for the time being… Once complete, this climate controlled hydroponic house will provide the majority of our food production needs – red and green tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, capsicum, horseradish
Along with our factory build comes the need to increase our manufacturing efficiency, hence the investment in additional manufacturing equipment.
Whilst trying to remain true to our ‘hand made’ traditions, we also need to expand our customer base, remain price competitive amongst a crowded market segment, and explore new opportunities, especially in targeting export sales.
The trees are down and the greenhouse build has commenced!
Our planning permit to manufacture will be conditional on us growing produce, so we have planted an orchard of 200 trees (50 each of lemons, limes, crabapples and quinces) which will take a while to bear the required levels of fruit that we need.
A change of plan! We had originally thought we would renovate the existing shed, but with the need for more space, it has been decided to demolish that structure and create a whole new building with an upstairs mezzanine – all whilst trying to maintain the old external look. We’ve endured a week’s exclusion zone
Our property has over 90 Cypress pine trees (hence the name Pine Ridge!), planted over 70 years ago to act as a wind break, but now, sadly, they are past their useful life. Bordering the future structure of our new development, we have to remove at least half of them to protect against damage. Since
So here’s how it’s starting….. Of course you need to look beyond this structure to envisage a retail store and manufacturing facility.
First step, a planning permit – so with the services of our planning consultant, the fabulous Marc Bartsch, and hopefully a reasonable Yarra Ranges Council, this should be a breeze…shouldn’t it?
All products except 8 out of our extensive range are manufactured Gluten Free…. Tomato Relish, Spicy Tomato Chutney, Mango & Port Chutney, Kasundi Relish, Horseradish Mustard, Mad Dog Chilli Salsa, Asian Style Salad Splash and Wok Toss are made using malt vinegar or ingredients that contain wheat and
So our former distributor decided to imitate our product range – thumbs down to them! This unimaginative version of our Yarra Valley Preserves products – the ‘Valley Harvest’ branded range – is still around but not hurting us too much! Remember, the Yarra Valley Preserves brand of jams, chutneys, salad dressing, etc. is the original