Generational orchard farming
Images supplied by Penford Feo.
PROUDLY owned by the Roberts family since 1910, Mumble Peg is one of the most loved citrus farms in the region.
The plot adjoins the Macquarie River where founders Samuel and Katherine began farming and decided to raise a family.
Previously working as a rabbiter, Samuel built a small home and began to farm the land. In 1923 one of Samuel’s older son’s started planting orange trees and, by 1930, the trees were producing fruit.
In 1942, at the age of 79, Samuel passed away entrusting Lachlan, one of five sons to continue running Mumble Peg.
Lachlan Roberts and his brothers continued farming on Mumble Peg and, as the years went by, the brothers each acquired land in various districts.
At the time, the citrus industry was growing quickly in Narromine with a citrus packing co-op formed to allow produce to reach consumers in Sydney. With the help of his son Trevor, Lachlan created a reputation around the delicious Mumble Peg oranges and, in 1968, Mumble Peg joined the Narromine Citrus Packers.
When Lachlan passed away suddenly in 1978, 28-year-old Trevor was entrusted to carry on the Roberts family passion for farming.
By 2013, the Narromine Citrus Packers had closed and Trevor decided to build his own packing shed.
Today, Mumble Peg is stronger than ever, run by Trevor and his sons Trevor Jr and Lachlan who have diversified into making their own Mumble Peg Orange Juice from the excess and reject fruit.
Trevor said it was a pleasure to work alongside his family as they continue adding to the proud farming history in Narromine.
“It has its challenges but the benefit of working together as a team and seeing each other succeed in the various roles on the farm far outweighs any challenges that can come along,” he said.
Holding a deep passion for the citrus industry, Trevor said you can always find him out in the orchard checking on his trees.
“I really enjoy the horticultural side, it’s a very big part of my heritage.
“My grandfather started the orchard with his sons, then my father taught me about citrus and now I am continuing the growth and vision with my sons.”
Battling market fluctuations and ongoing drought, Trevor said value-adding with their juice company has been a way to overcome any dips in the market.
“We can juice and sell the fruit instead of giving it away at the markets.”
The family are currently looking forward to continuing to promote their juice with plans of growing with a new line of fruit drinks.
“We pride ourselves on producing the best quality product we can and we feel our juice and drinks really reflect that,” Trevor said.
“We look forward to seeing how we can grow our products in the juice market together as a family.”
The Roberts family are also excited to celebrate 110 years of family business in 2020.
“It has taken a lot of work, but we are very proud to be able to state that Mumble Peg has been farmed by Roberts’ for four generations and counting,” Trevor said, adding the support from the local community and surrounding region has been unwavering.
“Through this drought we have really seen locals come and support each other where we can. We have been blessed with such tremendously supportive local customers and suppliers over the last five years with our juice.” he said.
“We could not be where we are without their loyalty.”
Currently supplying juice across New South Wales and the ACT, Mumble Peg is also sending fruit along to Sydney and Brisbane fruit markets and has recently begun to export their navel oranges to Canada and Asia.
“Everyone has overwhelmed us with the amount of support and encouragement behind Mumble Peg Orange Juice.
“The shop owners and customers took a chance on us when we were totally unknown and that allowed us to get our product out there.”
For more information, visit: www.mumblepeg.com.au
Written for publication in 'The Weekender' and printed by Australian Community Media.