Belehris Estates is located in the pristine area of Cooltong, situated in the Riverland South Australia, 250 Km North-East from the city of Adelaide.
The area is renowned for its warm summers, cool winters and excellent soil and water qualities resulting in perfect conditions for growing almonds.
Established in 1996 we are 100% Australian family owned and operated and pride ourselves in producing a Premium Almond, surpassing customer’s expectations.
From humble beginnings, the objective of Belehris Estates was to become recognised in the market place domestically and globally, as presenting almonds that redefined the standards for quality with every order received and every carton opened.
1996 - 97
1996 – The Beginning
In 1996 our original “Home” property was cleared from a citrus orchard to the very first almond property in the Cooltong area, and also in the Riverland region. All the redeveloping for this new venture was planned and executed by Jim himself. From the clearing of the citrus trees, planning the outlay of the orchard, the earthworks to the irrigation infrastructure. The very last irrigation pipe was installed on Christmas eve 1996 in over 40 O C day.
2000 - 03
2000 – First Crop
The first crop of almonds was hand-harvested by a few years later, resulting in about 1500Kg of kernel. We hand sorted these in our little shed, that is now our workshop, having two plastic containers – one for the broken ones and one for the premium. These were sold to a customer in Melbourne – who we still supply almonds to, after 20 years.
We also built our new packing facility on the property to accommodate the increasing yields coming into fruition.
2003 – Increase in Demand
At this time Jim had in mind that in order to sustain a consistent supply of almonds to our customers from one season to another we needed to have bigger yields.
With both domestic and overseas demand for our product was increasing, we needed to increase our acreage and volumes.
With almond growing there is a need for specialized harvesting and orchard management machinery, which is large and bulky. It was important to ensure that any new developments of orchards were in close proximity to the original property,
In this year a dairy property was purchased and the excitement of creating another almond orchard was in the air.
The entire project was undertaken in the winter and had to be completed before winter was over and the almond trees came out of dormancy. The old run-down dairy was cleared, the soil was worked with and the irrigation plans were installed., This time around, however, Jim wanted to ensure we had strong vibrant trees to plant in this orchard, so he decided to establish his own tree nursery to grow the trees from a peach seed and then grafted to an almond tree.
It was a long, bitterly cold winter with early morning starts and late nights- working with tractor lights to ensure it all got done before the trees came out of dormancy – and it did.
2015 - 18
2015-16 – Expansion
With increasing sales in both the Australian domestic markets and the international markets, we now wanted to increase our yields yet again.
The property next door was purchased and the process began again, expanding the rows from the original Cooltong property right through to the newly developed orchard.
The decision was made to expand the packing facility and incorporate state of the art computerized sorting equipment from overseas to have the ability to full fill customers orders in a quicker time frame than previous hand sorting method. A humidity-controlled cool room was built, to store larger volumes of product.
2018 – Redevelopment
Another property across the road was purchased and redeveloped from a vineyard/citrus property to almonds.
Again, Jim established a nursery to later plant in the orchard, which enabled us to pick the strongest healthiest of trees to be planted.
2020 - ∞
2020 & Beyond
For the time being, we have sufficient plantings in the ground to be able to accommodate supply to our selected domestic and international customers requirements. The younger orchards will be reaching their maturity over the next year or two and increasing our yields.
The acreage we now cover makes it comfortable to maintain complete management of all facets, ensuring our customers receive personal attention from us and the finished product is not compromised.
In the near future, however, our children have shown an interest in taking their own roles in the family business and are already talking about bringing new and exciting concepts to the table, which we are keen to look at and help them with.