Mildura Weekly : Friday March 7 2014 Vol 8 No 18
www.milduraweekly.com.au 6 Mildura Weekly – 07/03/14 MILDURA builder Wayne McDonnell and his wife Tania were all smiles this week after appearing on na- tional television. Recognised as one of the region’s premier builders – boasting numerous Masters Builder Association award wins – Wayne and Tania were left speechless after receiv- ing a phone call from the producers of 7TWO televi- sion program ‘Australia’s Best Houses.’ Hosted by Gary Takle, the program aims to find the best designed and constructed homes in the country, with producers keen to showcase one of Wayne’s Gol Gol con- structions. The house in question be- longs to long-time Sunraysia residents Evan and Marlene Morrison, who purchased the land from a family member. Their dream was to one day build a retirement home on the land – which showcas- es a marvellous view of the Murray River – with Wayne helping the couple achieve that goal over a 12-month period. Tania said that while the opportunity to appear on Australia’s Best Houses had come as a surprise, the cou- ple had embraced the nation- wide exposure. “It’s a great privilege to be asked to appear on a show such as this – which is on a mission to find the best homes in the country,” she said. Tania said the phone call to appear on the show had “come out of the blue,” say- ing it had taken some time for the news to sink in. “One of the producers rang Wayne in November and mentioned that he had seen some of the houses we had entered in the Master Builders Awards, and they were keen to feature him in an episode,” she said. “I don’t think he thought the call was real at first. “This is a great oppor- tunity to show that even though we are in Mildura, residents still have access to quality builders.” Takle – a noted ‘archi- tectural commentator’ in his own right – said the visit marked the show’s first time in Mildura. “I have been wanting to get up here for a long time and feature a house along the Murray,” he said. “It was just a matter of finding the right house! “Wayne’s work with this particular home is incredible, and it was really a no-brain- er to feature this particular house on our show.” The Gol Gol home will feature on 7TWO later this year, with the episode ten- tatively planned to be the fourth episode of the show’s fourth season. More information about Australia’s Best Homes is available by visiting www. besthouses.com.au . 7TWO exposure for McDonnell Homes By BEN PISCIONERI AUSTRALIA’S peak dried fruits industry body, Dried Fruits Australia, has labelled Sunbeam Foods’ 2014 prices as a slap in the face to grow- ers. It’s the organisation’s second attack on Sunbeam’s prices in as many months and follows recent rain which has lowered the grade of fruit likely to be produced in the region. DFA chairman Mark King was last month critical of the discrepancy in dark fruit prices between Sunbeam and rival processor Australian Pre- mium Dried Fruits, which he said would leave many Sun- beam-contracted growers up to $200 a tonne worse off. Mr King said rain three weeks ago meant the major- ity of growers in the region would only produce fruit in the 4 Crown category, which is where the discrepancy in dark fruit prices was greatest. “As it stands, Sunbeam’s 2014 prices will hurt a lot of growers,” he said. Mr King added that he be- lieved the processor’s prices weren’t indicative of market conditions, which had drasti- cally improved over the past 12 months. “After the 2012 Turkish harvest there was an abun- dance of Turkish sultanas forcing the price down,” Mr King said. “A strong Australian dol- lar and a depressed domes- tic retail environment meant that Australian growers had to take a hit and received up to $200 a tonne less than the previous year. “Growers weren’t pleased, but could understand and ac- cept the impact this had on market prices.” Mr King says those mar- ket conditions have now changed, but prices haven’t followed suit. “A smaller Turkish sul- tana crop has seen the aver- age global price for sultanas increase,” he said. “In addition, the Austra- lian dollar has depreciated by 15 percent, further increasing the price of imported sultanas into Australia and making lo- cally grown fruit more price competitive and attractive to consumers. “Despite these changes for the better, Sunbeam’s 2014 prices have been held at the same levels or reduced on the 2013 prices, with the exception of a 2.5 percent increase for the two highest grades of sultanas. “Whereas Australian- owned Australian Premium Dried Fruits increased prices Dried fruits industry leader on the attack • NOT HAPPY: Dried Fruits Australia chairman Mark King shows an example of the rain-affected fruit he expects will be common in the region. across all grades of light and dark sultanas apart form the top 5 light grade, which re- mained unchanged.” Mr King said the pricing brought into question Sun- beam Foods’ commitment to the Australian dried fruit industry and repeated his call for the processor to review its pricing for the 2014 crop. Sunbeam Foods’ gen- eral manager of Fruit Sup- ply, Chris Ellis, last month defended the prices, pointing to a preference for light co- loured fruit. “We’re rewarding high quality and trying to push our price increases into areas where we can differentiate our product,” Mr Ellis told the Mildura Weekly when the processor’s prices were first announced. “It’s about seeing where the markets are and reward- ing quality fruit. “We see the best driver for the Australian market is to produce quality fruit. Hope- fully the season will deliver that.” THE Slow Food Mildura group is preparing for its annual dinner under the vines event, with the Festa della Vendemmia (or Feast of the Grape Harvest) sell- ing out in record time. The aim of the Feast is to celebrate the achieve- ments of local food produc- ers and chefs, with the event to be held tomorrow night at Gino and Elina Garreffa’s Belar Vineyard in Irymple. The Festa has become a significant event on Mil- dura’s food tourism cal- endar over the past three years, with this year’s guests expected from as far as Queensland, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. Showcasing the region’s local produce, food will be prepared by local chefs and cooks under the guidance of the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE’s Peter Webley. Brad Fyfe, leader of Slow Food Mildura and senior lecturer in cooking at Sun- raysia Institute of TAFE, said those lucky enough to be at- tending the Feast would be in for a treat. “Everyone who comes along will enjoy the tradi- tional, rustic outdoor set- ting and the fantastic food prepared from local pro- duce,” he said. “The Slow Food phi- losophy believes in good, clean and fair food, and particularly in supporting local producers. “We hope that through these types of events Slow Food Mildura can raise the profile of local growers and producers within our com- munity and beyond. “We produce some of the finest produce in the country here in our region, and the Festa della Vendem- mia is all about showcasing that produce. “Slow Food Mildura also supports food educa- tion, and will once again be awarding a grant to a school kitchen garden pro- gram through an open ap- plication process. “Above all the Festa is about having fun and en- joying good food, good wine and good company in a beautiful setting.” Italian-themed music will complement the food, and for more information contact Brad on 0431 310 448, or Deborah Bogenhu- ber on 0433 003 742. Third annual ‘Festa della Vendemmia’ a sell-out • TELEVISION DEBUT: Australia’s Best Houses host Gary Takle (with glasses) interviews Mildura builder Wayne McDonnell, and Gol Gol home owners Marlene and Evan Morrison.
February 28 2014 Vol 8 No 17
Friday March 14 2014 VOL 8 No 19