Four generations of apple farmer have tended this orchard. Learn more about the farm below.
Situated on 115 acres, our farm is 35 minutes south of Hobart in the Huon Valley, a once thriving apple-growing region that exported apples all over the globe and earned Tasmania the title of the ‘Apple Isle’.
Our farm went organic in 1997, thanks to the innovation of current orchardist, Andrew Smith. It was a bold move, transforming the orchard to organic, and involved a lot of new techniques and training to achieve. With a new focus on organic farming and the use of the apples in our cider, we hope to bring back the glory of the ‘Apple Isle’ days once more.
Where we are from
We are located in the Huon Valley, Tasmania – one of the most pure and untouched places on earth.
The air in Cape Grim, in north-west Tasmania, has been measured and is officially recognised as the cleanest air in the world. With prevailing winds being westerly, our air is similar and travels over one of the largest expanses of virgin forest wilderness in Australia before reaching the valley.
The valley collects on average 700mm of rain each year. When required, additional water is available to our orchard from the plentiful Mountain River flowing from the Sleeping Beauty mountain range.
With a new focus on organic farming and the use of the apples in our cider, we hope to bring back the glory of the ‘Apple Isle’ days once more.
We choose organic because we believe that making things the traditional way, with more care and less of the artificial bad stuff, is better for you and better for Tassie.
A study conducted by the French Agency for Food Safety concluded that organic plant products:
contain more dry matter and are therefore more nutrient dense
have higher levels of minerals
contain more anti-oxidants, such as phenols and salicylic acid (known to protect against cancers, heart disease and many other health problems)
Most of all, organic produce just makes us feel good!
The cidery is located at our orchard, meaning the fruit travels the smallest distance possible from tree to bottle. One of the major benefits of this is we can see the trees blossom, the fruit grow, watch it get picked and make its way into the juice press. It’s a full circle process which all occurs in one place, right here on the farm.
The Smith family know orchards like they know their apples. Through the thick and thin of the industry and a crisis or two, they have stood firm with their product. It’s a story of pioneers, determination of spirit, and most of all; family.
1970 – present day
A 20-year-old Andrew Smith made a deal with his dad – I’ll work in the orchard for six months if I can go travelling for the rest of the year.
It wasn’t a typical Aussie backpacking trip. As well as meeting apple growers in Holland, Belgium, Germany and England, Andrew followed his passion for offshore sailing, crewing on a yacht in the Fastnet Race. After returning to Tasmania he travelled to the USA, visiting and talking to orchardists in Wenatchee and Orondo in Washington State.
He returned full of ideas for intensive planting and organic growing.
1941 – Present day
Ian Smith, Andrew’s dad, took over the farm aged 21. In the decade that followed, he had to rebuild twice.
The 1967 bushfires burnt the packing shed to the ground. Worse still, in 1973, Britain joined the European Common Market. Tasmania’s apple export industry, which had already been in decline for several years, collapsed overnight. This time, it wasn’t just a shed – Ian and his wife Dianne, who had a lifelong influence on the property, had to work together to create a whole new approach to the apple business. The old ways of ‘pick, pack and deliver’ were gone – trucks no longer lined up at wharves to load apple ships.
Ian was one of the innovators of the new ways – through the 1980s he built controlled-atmosphere cool stores, installed a modern apple grader, started packing his fruit in cardboard cartons and explored new markets in Asia.
He saw the great soil, the bountiful supply of fresh water and the clean air that the Huon Valley offered.
1907 – 1964
Ron Smith, Andrew’s grandfather, went to war and came back after having seen the world. He put some structure around the business and began shipping apples all around the globe. These were the boom years of the Apple Isle’s export industry. Ron founded and helped build the RSL in Huonville to bring the community together, and Andrew still enjoys a drink there from time to time.
1868 – 1948
William and Elsie Smith
Willie came to the Huon Valley, Tasmania, in the 1800s and planted the first tree for the orchard that we pick from today, in 1888. Descended from convicts (both his parents arrived in Australia free of charge), he was passionate about farming. He saw the great soil, the bountiful supply of fresh water and the clean air that the Huon Valley offered and he knew this was the place for him.
Willie’s wife, Elsie, also inspired the direction of William Smith & Son’s. She was the daughter of Charles Oates, the man who pioneered a new way of life in the Huon Valley in 1844.
Drawing inspiration from Charles Oates’ pioneering spirit, we are on a journey to create uniquely Tasmanian spirits with our apples. In so doing, we celebrate a man and his family who have done so much for the valley over the last couple of hundred years.