Arriving at Taddei Orchards I feel far from the West Gingin sandy plains, the scene would not be out of place in Tuscany.
Beautifully groomed wind break hedges surrounding the orchard and perfect rows of fruit trees which spread to the hills. Wandering down the rows, the delicious perfume of fresh peaches and nectarines calls out the start of summer. Taddei Orchards has a frenetic pace as the team work around the clock to pick, pack and deliver fresh summer stone fruit to the people of Perth.
Taddei Orchards is a family business with oldest son Ned Taddei and his son, Frank Taddei, fourth generation, working with dad and uncles Robert Taddei and brother-in law-Carlo Scamuffo. Parents Frank and Julie Taddei are still active in the business.
Grandfather Natalino arrived in the 1920s from Tuscany, his first market garden was where the main runways of the perth airport are now. He was moved to Maida Vale, where he built up the orchard business to 30 acres.
In 1989, Ned was looking to expand. “We were growing early market fruit so we were looking for something similar. Similar climate, similar timing. The coastal plain is warmer and so reduced temperature variations, more suited to low chill climate.
We found this place, it was just a run down weekender”.
According to Ned the 500 acres offered good climate and good water source. We moved the family business to West Gingin in 1992. They now have 250 acres planted; comprising 35,000 stone fruit trees, 40,000 citrus trees.
The orchard is immaculate with the level of organisation and discipline showing throughout all aspects of the business.
“We run it as a business, not a family business, everyone is accountable and has a certain job to do. The business is split into into three business units; Robert manages the packing shed, Carlo manages the orchard and I oversee the administration. They also pack for other growers and have extended to packing avocados and mangos.
Taddei Orchards is relatively chemical free and net free. The birds are kept away with a high pitched bird deterrent unit, they release predator mites as part of ITM program, and they bait for fruit fly with only the need for spot spraying.
“Because we are relatively isolated, with very few nearby backyarders we have less of the pest issues such as fruit fly than other areas.”
Like all horticultural businesses they are price takers. For Taddei Orchards the key is to innovate and be first to market with unique product. The brothers have just planted a new seedless mandarin which was a result of recent USA and European research trips.
This commitment to business practices extends to the employed family members. Ned shared that when his son Frank realised his passion was the orchard and he asked his Dad if he could join the team. Ned said he’d have to ask his uncles and only if they were supportive. He is now a member of the team working closely with uncle Carlos and adding value to the business.