The third player in the ‘Truss Me” campaign initiative is d’VineRipe, a leading truss tomato producer with a recently opened $65 million sustainable tomato glasshouse facility spanning 17 hectares at Two Wells, north of Adelaide. It is Australia’s largest truss tomato glasshouse to incorporate pad and fan climate control technology.
The glasshouse maximises light with a roof span providing minimal shade. Internal steel structures have been painted white to reflect light and boost crop yield.
The facility comprises approximately 90,000 panes of strengthened glass on the roof and 30,000 panes on the walls. Each pane measures 1.8 by 1.2m – the largest so far used in glasshouse construction in Australia. Stage 2 incorporates specialised glass panes, which filter UV rays and allow more useful light to reach the plants.
Some 200km of drip hose piping and 340km of heating pipe has been used throughout to irrigate and heat the glasshouse. Column heights of 6.3m, while still an industry standard, are above the usual range of 5.5 to 6m.
Stage 1 of the facility, a $35 million development that was the largest single glasshouse built in one stage in Australia, opened in 2007. Stage 2, a $30 million expansion, became operational in early 2011, boosting annual production capacity to some 10,000 tonnes of tomatoes. Dutch glasshouse construction company, van der Hoeven Greenhouse Builders, designed and built both glasshouse stages.
The facility incorporates leading-edge technologies and operating systems, including a co-generation plant, which runs on natural gas to control the glasshouse climate, water sourced from Adelaide’s waste water supply via the Bolivar Water Reuse Project, a closed watering system, and innovative packing lines.
The feasibility of generating renewable energies such as biogas to compost its own waste and an on-site nursery to propagate seeds are on d’VineRipe’s future agenda.
The joint venture company represents an alliance between Sydney-based Perfection Fresh Australia Pty Ltd and diverse investment company The Victor Smorgon Group.
Established in 1978 by the Simonetta family – the same family, which owns and manages it today – Perfection Fresh has grown from a Sydney Markets-based operator to a national wholesaler supplying supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles, independent retailers, fast food chains such as McDonald’s, and an expanding number of export markets.