SPC processing is in full swing

By Jamie Salter

The processing season for apricots is in full swing at Shepparton's SPC factory, having begun in late December.

In 24 hours, the plant processes about 100 000 700 g plastic jars and 60 000 825 g cans of apricots.

Canning team leader Steve Traianidis said the fruit was good quality despite warmer weather.

“They've been slightly affected by the heat, that's 40 degree heat where the fruit gets hot from the inside out,” Mr Traianidis said.

“They don't do well in the heat so we try to process them as quickly as possible.

“We haven't had a week of 40 degree heat, just a day here and there.”

The company expects the fruit processing season will finish about the end of April.

The processing of apricots is followed by peaches, then plums, with pears beginning in early February.

SPC employs a wide range of experienced and seasonal staff during the processing period.

“We have an intake of a couple of hundred seasonal employees at the start and then up to 300 later on,” Mr Traianidis said.

“We tend to get university students while they're on break and most of them come back year after year.”

Pears were the top fruit last year, with peaches right behind in popularity.

“The amount of pears will be similar to last year; it is a hard commodity to bring in because of water, size and other markets,” Mr Traianidis said.

SPC total processing estimates for the season:

  • 2300 tonnes of apricots.
  • 15 000 tonnes of peaches.
  • 10 500 tonnes of pears.
  • 300 tonnes of plums.
  • 33 000 tonnes of tomatoes.