Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory is located at the restored Junee Flour Mill, a historically rich landmark in the rural township of Junee, New South Wales. The Factory produces a rapidly growing range of innovative, certified organic confectionaries increasingly being found in shops around Australia and overseas. Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory is operated by Green Grove Organics, a family operated farm based enterprise that has been practicing organic farming since 1962. Green Grove holds Level “A” Organic Certification through the BFA (Biological Farmers Association of Australia, P225).
The “Green Grove” farm is a 1100 hectare property situated near Ardlethan, in the magnificent and fertile Riverina region of New South Wales. The farm has been owned by the Druce family since 1918.
In 1962, the current owner Alan Druce, became concerned about pollution in the food chain. He set about taking steps toward pure food production by eliminating harmful sprays, artificial fertilisers and other “modern day” farming practices designed to “enhance” farm production, becoming in the process one of the pioneers of organic farming in Australia.
This method of farming is based on the nurturing of the whole farm ecology, and treating it as an incredibly intricate, interdependent and fragile system that needs to be understood and cared for. The Green Grove logo, the hand, soil and grain, depicts farmers being caretakers of the ecology, to produce food. Since 1987 “Green Grove” has had an association with the Australian National University (ANU) and is almost constantly being monitored and compared with conventional farming. The results of these tests are regarded as significant, sometime astonishing, to the point of “Green Grove” being regarded as one of the premier organic test cases in Australia, and indeed the world. In July of 1998 the “Green Grove” site was presented at the 7th International Conference of Ecology in Florence, Italy as a significant organic test site.
Today the Druce family, the fourth generation on “Green Grove”, enjoy the results of a long-standing organic conversion, and continue to seek ways and methods of better food production.
Stretching over twenty metres into the Junee skyline is the historically rich Junee Flour Mill. Built in 1934-35, the Mill was not only a town landmark, but a major player in Junee’s industrial progress following the Great Depression.
The Mill employed 25 workers on site and ran around the clock producing 5.6 million bushels of flour per year, which in today’s dollars would be worth many tens of millions of dollars. The massive mill took up 9,600 square feet of floor space, was powered by a 160 horsepower semi-diesel motor and was recognised as one of the most efficient mills in Australia. Today, the mill building is being restored in a manner as to capture the 1930′s feel of this substantial, “old world” construction.
A modern day stone mill has been installed converting grain grown on the Green Grove farm into product for inclusion in licorice, flour and bread mixes. As recognition that Green Grove Organics are heading in the right direction the company was the proud winner of the 2002 Riverina Gold Plate Award for innovative product. The management and staff are proud of being involved in the fastest growing section of the world’s food industry.