Back in 1962 Alan Druce “Poppy Dru” made the outlandish step of converting his 3000 acre farm to organics. Being from the rural township of Ardlethan you can imagine what his neighbours thought of the change. The 1980’s saw a spike in demand for organic products with the introduction into major supermarkets and suddenly Poppy Dru was a little bit trendy!
Where is Junee?
Poppy Dru’s youngest and only son, Neil Druce decided to follow in his fathers footsteps with organic farming, and the Green Grove farm took major leaps forward growing organic wheat and spelt. Then one day their small onsite mill broke. Neil went on the hunt for a flour mill to continue milling their products. He discovered a five story, abandoned flour mill just up the road in Junee NSW.
Built in 1935 he was instantly charmed by the building. Suddenly he thought it could be more than just a flour mill and a BIG DREAM was born - stay tuned because Neil has a lot of those!
1998 Neil purchased the building that had been abandoned for over 30 years and began the renovations! Neil was new to Junee and the locals definitely thought he was crazy when he told them over a pub feed his grand plans of creating a licorice and chocolate factory that people would travel to see, both domestically and internationally
Licorice is trendy, yeah?
Naturally we progressed to making licorice....Wait what?
Flour is one of the main ingredients in licorice, didn't know that? Either did we! 2001 saw the installation of the licorice factory and to say the first batch of licorice went badly is an understatement but that didn't show down Neil's passion for perfecting the art.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and next time
we give a catch at our "first run" of something we would invite a National TV show to film it!
Chocolate, game changer!
2003 was when Neil thought it was time to bring in the addition of chocolate!GREAT idea Neil! That's when the tourists really started liking Junee.
Nowadays we are producing licorice and chocolate five days a week and selling Australia wide and internationally. Employing over 60 locals we are a hub of activity with guided tours, hands on chocolate experiences, a licensed restaurant and live music to relax to in our alfresco dining areas.
A little slice of chocolate paradise
It's a beautiful part of Australia that's a must see and it all started because of a broken down old flour mill, on the Green Grove farm, in a rural town everyone forgets the name of...