For more than sixty years the Williamson family of Barham have been growing oranges amongst the sandhills along the Murray River in southern New South Wales. Since the1960s they have been picking and trucking their oranges to the Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide markets.
Earlier last month they had their first bottling run under their own label, “The Great Australian Squeeze”; a pure fresh orange juice that is naturally sweet with no added sugar – grown, squeezed and bottled here in Barham. It is a culmination of a number of year’s work to add value and market their own product as well as promoting the local citrus industry around Barham/Koondrook as a whole to the rest of Australia.
A little over a year ago they built a juice processing and bottling plant and began supplying pure orange juice to a Melbourne firm under the label of Milla’s. When Milla’s first approached Kurrnung to supply them with juice, Kurrnung had over one thousand tonnes of Valencia oranges sitting on their trees unsold.
Looking for a way to increase the value of their citrus crops and increase industry and employment opportunities within the local Barham district, Kurrnung agreed to supply Milla’s. They promptly installed a juice processing and bottling plant capable of juicing four tonnes of oranges or producing approximately two thousand litres of juice per hour.
For years Australian orchardists have fought a losing battle against cheap imported oranges and orange juice concentrate from both North and South America. The big multinational juice processing plants such as Lion (Berri and Daily Juice) and Heinz (Original Juice) do buy some Australian grown citrus for their juice products but a substantial amount of their juice is reconstituted from imported concentrate that is significantly cheaper than the premium fresh juice produced in Australia. Small quantities of orange juice concentrate are produced in Australia but in the vast majority of cases, if you are buying orange juice made from concentrate, you are buying imported juice.
Fresh orange juice is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants, essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that can provide long-term benefits for your health. It is a naturally good source of potassium, essential for the functioning of our nerves and helping reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Drinking orange juice with meals boosts the absorption of important minerals like iron. Simply having a glass with your breakfast cereal will boost the amount of iron your body absorbs during that meal. Drinking at least two glasses of orange juice per day increases the vitamin C concentration within the body by 40 to 60 percent. Vitamin C has many benefits for your body; it improves the health of skin, joints and the entire cardiovascular system. It is also a powerful antioxidant and stimulates your immune system.
Kurrnung is hoping to supply towns along the Murray River with The Great Australian Squeeze and extend their market through to Sydney as the demand grows.
With the big national supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles keen to publicise their support for Australian farmers and fulfill the wishes of a growing groundswell of Australian consumers pushing to buy homegrown produce, it is anticipated The Great Australian Squeeze will be on supermarket shelves nationally before too long.
Already locals and visitors alike have been able to purchase the juice at Club Barham; our local supermarkets, IGA and Foodworks; the BP Service Station on Moulamein Road, the Riverside Café in Murray Street and the Long Paddock Food Store in Koondrook, all avid supporters of locally grown produce.
The Great Australian Squeeze is the end result of local orchardists who are passionate about their industry and committed to producing the very best fresh orange juice for the Australian public.