Green Grove Organics: Producing certified organic wheat for over three decades
Green Grove Organics is a multi-generational, family-run business owned by the Druce family since 1918. The Green Grove Organics farm is located in the pristine Riverina region in New South Wales, near Ardlethan, and the property comprises 1,100 hectares of fertile land. Green Grove’s organic story began in 1962 when current owner Alan Druce started taking steps towards reducing the amount of synthetic chemicals used on the farm, including harmful herbicides, fertilisers and other ‘modern day’ practices. Green Grove Organics now produce certified organic wheat and have been milling their own flour for over three decades.
Looking for value-add ideas for their organic produce, the Druce family invested in an abandoned flour mill at Junee in New South Wales in the 1990s with a view to mill their own organic wheat flour and develop baking mixes. Rich in local history, the twenty metres high mill was originally built in 1934-35 and was a major landmark. During the Great Depression, the mill played an important role in Junee’s industrial progress – employing 25 workers who produced 5.6 million bushels of flour each year.
After renovating the building and installing a modern stone mill, the Druce family began experimenting with baked goods before looking into confectionary. They were surprised to discover that one of the main ingredients for licorice was flour.
From there, Green Grove Organics built the only organic licorice factory in the Southern Hemisphere – now a major tourist attraction of the Riverina region.
Green Grove Organics is considered one of the pioneers of organic farming in Australia and have been working with the Australian National University (ANU) since 1987 to provide comparisons with conventional farming. Green Grove Organics was presented as a significant organic test site at the 7th International Conference of Ecology in Florence, Italy in July 1998, and is considered one of the premier organic test cases in the world.
In recognition of their service to the organic industry, Coral and Neil Druce of Green Grove Organics were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2018 Australian Organic Industry Awards.
Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory
The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory is home to the Green Grove Organics stone mill, which mills organic wheat, spelt and ancient grains – including ingredients for its own licorice.
A major attraction in the Riverina region, the Factory attracts over 1,500 visitors a week to see how chocolate and licorice is made and discover the ‘organic’ difference.
The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory is located at the restored Junee Flour Mill, a landmark rich in local history, and is the only factory of its kind producing certified organic licorice and confectionaries in the southern hemisphere.
You will find Green Grove Organics certified organic licorice and chocolate in stores across Australia and overseas.
Learn more on their website: https://www.juneelicoriceandchocolate.com/
Photography by Louise Wright