Tomato farm to expand

07 Mar 2019 Carisbrook Mercury, Carisbrook, VIC (General News) $7 million project planned Mortlock Hydroponics, in Carisbrook, is undertaking a $7 million expansion that will see the greenhouses cover a further three hectares. The State Government has provided a $300,000 grant through its Regional Jobs Fund towards the project. Assistant manager for packing Ashley Mortlock said the expansion would be completed intwostages. Once the first 1.5 hectares was completed, they would start on the other 1.5. Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaclyn Symes visited Mortlock Hydroponics recently to announce the grant. It is fantastic to see this family-owned business, which hasbeen operating and providing jobs in the Central Goldfields region for 20 years, position themselves for major growth and go from strength to strength, Ms Symes said. The demand for glasshouse-grown tomatoes from retailers is booming they last longer on the shelves and are more consistent in quality, and were proud to be helping Mortlock Hydroponics double their production and create 40 new local jobs in the process. Mortlock Hydroponics general manager Shane Mortlock said: The backing from the Victorian Government has given us the confidence to expand our family business, ensuring we continue to maintain our competitiveness as a major tomato supplier across Victoria. The expansion will mean Mortlock Hydroponics will double in size and production will increase from 1350 tonnes to 2700 tonnes annually. Mortlock Hydroponics moved from Alma to Carisbrook in 2012 and now employs 55 full-time equivalent staff. An additional 40 jobs are expected after the expansion in the areas ofpacking, pruning, pollinating, winding, picking and de-leafing. Ms Mortlock said they will be pulling out crop in May, June and will start again straight away, after sterilising and cleaning out the previous crop. We never stop, weve constantly got work for them (employees), hesaid. Mortlock Hydroponics supplies tomatoes to Woolworths, Aldi, Coles and various markets. The expansion is expected tobe completed in 2021. Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford said: This project is not only great news for tomato lovers but a big win for local jobs and everyone along the supply chain.