Summer apple harvest is a special time for Nic Giblett of Newton Orchards of Manjimup and Valleyview Organics. The third generation Manjimup grower feels deeply connected to the growing seasons, knowing intuitively when produce is best eaten. Her passion informs the way she does business, pushing provenance and seasonality to everyone from the average consumer to Coles supermarkets. For this reason she is one of our Buy West Eat Best local food heroes.

“It’s a nostalgic time of year for me when I can walk into the orchard and smell the first apples of the season being harvested.

We have 350kg bins, and when they come off the tractors and get loaded onto the shed floor, it’s thick with that beautiful, natural perfume.”

“I grew up on our orchard, which was started by my maternal grandfather and uncle in 1929. They were just 15 and 16 when they came to WA as ten-pound Poms. My dad, Harvey Giblett later joined the business, taking over in 2000 and doubling its size. We now have four properties, we lease others, and we also pack and market for several Southern Forests growers. Harvey really put his foot on the pedal so we’re in a consolidation period now.”

“My partner Paul and I wanted to bring our two kids up on the farm. We saw it as the best opportunity, lifestyle and career wise. My kids can’t roam through the pack house in bare feet eating apples the way I did – they’ve got to wear hi-vis vests and stick to all the safety rules. But I get to cook breakfast overlooking the orchard out the kitchen window. It keeps you more attuned to the basic simple joys in life: seasonality, eating properly, being appreciative of what’s around you. It’s made me learn about lots of other fresh produce, and return to a way of living that used to be totally natural, only now it’s foreign to most people.”

“We’ve been with Coles for nearly 30 years, Woolworths for about 8 and now ALDI Australia, too. Contrary to what you sometimes read about the big supermarkets, they’re very supportive of our push of provenance, buying in season, and anytime we’ve wanted to innovate they’ve listened.”

“Hopefully consumers are becoming more attuned to things, realising it’s not sustainable to buy perfect-looking produce all the time. Voting with your dollar is the only way to change things. Everyone needs to be more educated with food choices, but I think buying local and in-season is pretty simple.”

Photos: Newton Orchards of Manjimup and Valleyview Organics