Meet Our Farmers

Brian Harris

Brian grew up on a citrus farm in the Hills District and managed his parent's farm from a young age. His Central Coast story started when he purchased a Mangrove Mountain citrus farm in 1965. Back then, he sold oranges and lemons through an agent and to fresh juice manufacturers in Sydney, Gosford and Parramatta.

Many juicing factories closed after the influx of cheaper concentrate. Consumers also started to favour unblemished fruit at the markets. Brian explained the impact of this on the local Central Coast growers. 'Our local oranges are absolutely delicious but they're not always pretty! Once buyers started favouring appearance over taste, it became more difficult to sell our fruit at the markets.'

Surplus citrus fruit became a problem on the Central Coast and that motivated Eastcoast Juices to set up their own fresh fruit juice manufacturing. 'Their initiative really helped all the local growers,' Brian said. 'To this day, once our fruit is harvested, Eastcoast Juices packs our blemish-free oranges and lemons for the Sydney Markets and squeezes the tasty surplus for fresh juice.'

Brian plays tennis with Frank from Eastcoast and still feels part of the family. 'For 25 years, I've supplied the best oranges and lemons that I could. They are a great family and I'm proud to have contributed to Eastcoast Juices and be a part of their success story.'

Brian helped with a video and photo shoot for Eastcoast. He laughs about his newfound fame. 'I'm always having friends and family telling me they've seen my photo in a supermarket somewhere! I feel quite famous!'

Reg Bennet

Reg Bennett's farm is a story about family and community. His father bought 80 acres of prime Mangrove Mountain land in 1936 to grow oranges and lemons. He cleared 14 acres by hand with a combination of gelignite and hard work. After the war, bulldozers finished the job. Today, Reg and his brother are successful second generation farmers with 40 acres each.

Reg has seen the changing citrus landscape over the years. 'There used to be a few thousand acres of citrus on the Central Coast,' Reg said. 'When concentrate came in from overseas, it put most local farmers out of business. We diversified into summer fruits, passionfruit and tomatoes. Once upon a time, growing passionfruit and tomatoes was like an apprenticeship for farmers; it's where you started out before you made the grade as a citrus grower. We returned to our roots and that kept us going until the demand for fresh juice returned.'

Reg is full of praise for the Lentini boys at Eastcoast Juices. 'We work well together. Unlike most fresh juice manufacturers, the Lentini family are farmers and fruit growers. They understand everything there is to know about citrus, and they also appreciate our challenges. They're fair to the farming community and, in return, we do everything we can to help them supply the best Australian fruit juice.'

With three children, seven grandchildren and 40 acres of precious citrus fruit, Reg doesn't have much time for hobbies, although he enjoys a game of tennis with Frank at Eastcoast Juices. Reg is well known locally on the Central Coast, as evidenced by his Order of Australia award for service to his community, and his invitation to be an Olympic torchbearer in 2000. A true story of family and community!

Hello, I recently won some of your juices donat...

Jodie Gallagher

993 George Downes Dr, Kulnura
NSW 2250, Australia

4376 3200

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