Heritage Fine Chocolates is a Melbourne based company. It’s one of the few local producers of chocolate Easter eggs, left in Australia. Recently, I had the good fortune to visit their factory in Rowville.
Managing Director, Michael Simons had contacted me, to discuss the edible garden that he had installed on the Heritage Fine Chocolates Factory site. Michael took the opportunity to turn a large amount of unused land, surrounding the factory buildings, into an edible oasis. Michael and his retired brother Clifford, have planted a considerable number of stone fruit, citrus, olives and other fruit trees around the premises. These fruit trees have grown and now produce masses of fruit over the course of the year. The forty factory staff, are encouraged to harvest as much of the fruit as they wish.
The site is not without its difficulties. With a golf course adjacent to the north of the site, giving little wind protection, northerly winds have affected the trees. They are permanently bent and shaped to point to the south. Eucalypts fringing the golf course have sent their roots onto the site to steal precious nutrients and water from the fruit trees. Despite all of this, the trees are flourishing, and produce heavy crops.
I spent a day last month helping Clifford to prune the trees. During the visit, I was able to demonstrate to Clifford, a few different methods of grafting to on fruit trees, with different varieties. I also mentored him, on how to best prune the fruit trees.
Michael has also had raised veggie garden beds, installed on the Heritage Fine Chocolates site. These garden beds are the scene of a tomato growing competition. Every summer, several staff compete with each other, to grow the best tomatoes. At the time that I was there, there were quite a few winter veggies growing in the garden beds, as well as herbs.
What a fantastic initiative Michael has implemented at Heritage Fine Chocolates. It is so great to see an otherwise unused piece of land, being turned into a productive edible garden. Following on from our recent post about the office gardens at REA group, I’d love to see more of our workplaces using available space, to grow fruit and vegetables, for their staff to enjoy.
Do you have edibles growing at your workplace? Please share some details and photos with us!