Being a fruit grower requires hard work, commitment and in the case of Angus Ferrier and his family, it means getting up every day before dawn – as early as four am during peak harvest.

During each stone fruit season, Rosemary Hill Orchard in Stanthorpe, Queensland, partners with Montague to deliver peaches, plums and nectarines that are sold with a CROC EGGS™ and the MONTAGUE tree™ label.

Proudly part of the network of growers for Montague, get to know more about the Ferrier family and watch their video to get a glimpse of their life on the land.

Watch the full grower video with Angus Ferrier here.

Tell us how you became an orchardist?

Rosemary Hill Orchard has been owned by the Ferrier family for over 30 years. It all started when Angus’ parents – Duncan and Dinie – established the orchard in 1996, with a small block of 1,000 stone fruit trees and a 10-acre vineyard.

While the family weren’t new to farming, with extensive experience in a wool growing business for 80, this was their first involvement in the produce industry.

Fourteen years after establishing the orchard, Angus returned home to join the family business and the orchard expanded to 11,000 trees, which has grown to 18,000 trees today.

In addition to plums, peaches and nectarines, the Ferrier family’s vineyard supplies Granite Belt wineries with Vermentino, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese grapes.


What goes into growing the perfect stone fruit?

Location and climate play a huge role in growing the stone fruit.

Located in Stanthorpe, more specifically the Traprock region, the granite soils provide the ideal base for stone fruit trees to thrive.

“High latitude gives early spring warmth and long daylight hours, and the elevation gives cool spring mornings with warm spring days – the perfect combination for growing great fruit.”

Along with the best possible growing conditions, knowing when to harvest is crucial to delivering the perfect piece of fruit.

Different types of stone fruit and varieties are ready for harvest at different times, with nectarines and peaches ready from as early as mid-October, while the plums are traditionally ready for harvest by mid-November.

During harvest, each tree will be picked four or five times, to ensure it's picked at the right time. “Each piece of fruit should be given every opportunity to reach its potential on the tree.”

“What’s harvested at dawn one morning is packed that afternoon and potentially on shopfront shelves by midday the following day.”


What do you love about living on the farm?

“It’s a great lifestyle to be so close to your family day in and day out.”

While the days are long, especially during harvest, living and working on the farm allows Angus to be close to his family.

“It would be more often than not that the kids come out with me for a couple of hours during the day or go for a drive in the tractor with their grandfather.”

Angus believes it’s a great life for his kids too and says, “I can picture the fact that they know they live on a farm, and they love it.”


What are some of the challenges you face as a stone fruit grower?

Life as a grower “has its testing days and testing years.”

In Queensland, lack of rainfall and drought can be two of the biggest weather challenges the orchard can face but technology has come a long way and now plays a key role in ensuring the trees receive the right amount of water, without using more than is needed.


What do you love most about working with Montague?

Being part of the network of growers for Montague, Angus feels “there’s a sense of effectively-being business partners.”

Both Montague and Angus are passionate about developing the brand and varieties together to ensure a great eating experience for consumers.

Working with Montague, each year new varieties are planted in trial blocks to test flavour, timing and size before they are sold to consumers.

Beyond the Montague brand, there is a real, genuine family connection, with the Montague family visiting Rosemary Hill Orchard countless times over the years.


What are you most proud of as a grower?

Angus is most proud of the role he and his family plays in supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to Aussies.

For him, “it’s about being able to deliver to consumers, the type of fruit that takes them back to when they picked some peaches in their grandfather’s backyard or on his farm and remind them what fruit tasted like when they were kids.”

Have you tried a piece of the MONTAGUE tree™ stone fruit?