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'The Orchard' at Montague officially opens its doors to the public this January

Australian family-owned fresh produce company, Montague, officially opens the doors to their brand new, contemporary space The Orchard at Montague. Featuring a restaurant with nourishing, farm-to-table menu choices, a retail store, a bike store, seasonal exhibition space, and a pick-your-own fruit orchard that allows visitors to hand-pick seasonal farm-fresh fruit against the beautiful backdrop of Lysterfield Park, The Orchard is destined to transform tourism in the area when it opens on January 11 2021.

The Orchard at Montague offers visitors a new experience to learn first-hand how Australian fruit is grown. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a full day packed with family-friendly on-site activities from hand-picking their own apple and stone fruit produce direct from the 3-hectare orchard with more than 2,000 trees of speciality varieties, exploring the scenic Lysterfield Park on bikes available for hire from The Bike Shed, dining in or taking away from the charming eatery Stella’s Kitchen and shopping for in-season and local produce at Bill’s Orchard Gate.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of The Orchard at Montague. As we move forward and evolve, The Orchard provides an engaging opportunity to educate consumers on our history, as well as share our premium fruit production process in a new and exciting way” said Scott Montague, third generation apple producer and Managing Director at Montague.

With over 70 years of experience, through three generations, Montague continue to grow and harvest quality, healthy fruit for consumers and through passionate innovation expand their business while highlighting the family’s rich history. The $66 million development showcases local construction materials including recycled timber from the original barn at the Narre Warren North Orchard as well as range of environmentally sustainable technology such as solar power and onsite water treatment plant. Inside the property visitors encounter Montague’s deep family story. Paying homage to Stella Montague, the family matriarch and mother to Ray, Greg and Frank Montague, Stella’s Kitchen is a unique in-house café with select artwork pieces inspired by Stella’s life in imagery and her handwritten recipes.

Stella’s Kitchen will treat guests to comforting and delicious menu items featuring hand-selected produce from The Orchard, such as Beef Ragu with Pappardelle, Duck confit with the MONTAGUE tree™ plums, Charcuterie boards, and Apple cake with white chocolate crumble, in partnership with culinary professionals Khan’s Hospitality Services.

Adam Sadiqzai from Khans Hospitality Services said “It is an exciting proposition when two families who are pioneers in their fields join forces to bring their perspective fields together, with Montague’s 72 years’ experience in the Apple business and Khans Hospitality Services 60 years’ experience in the hospitality Industry, our guests can be assured of a great experience.”

Joining Khans as the Head Chef of Stella’s Kitchen is Josh Repcen who completed his apprenticeship under French Chef Jimmy Chavy at La Bouffe French Restaurant in South Yarra, later becoming sous chef under Chef Leo Howard at the Barmah Park Winery and Stamford Park. Chef Josh is in the midst of creating an exciting menu which will feature the beautiful produce from Montague’s orchard,” said Sadiqzai.

Visitors to The Orchard can Soak up the sun with a picnic on the property’s picturesque event lawn with mouth-watering take away options including Pulled Pork Sliders with Montague House Apple Cider and Pickled Carrot Slaw, Jerk Chicken with Pickled Jalapeños and Apricot Chutney, and Spiced Lamb Skewers with Baba Ganoush and Cumin Chapati. Guests can hire a picnic blanket at the retail store, and those on the go can easily grab a coffee or hand-crafted natural juice on the go from the juice bar.

Bill’s Orchard Gate is named after William (Bill) Montague (OAM) who founded Montague in 1948, when he planted the first apple trees on the Narre Warren North orchard. Visitors will be able to come and taste fresh fruit straight from the orchard which will also be available for purchase. The fresh produce range will include a mix of Montague grown seasonal apples and stone fruit. In addition, visitors will also be able to purchase a range of locally produced seasonal produce sourced from producers in the Yarra Valley and West Gippsland.

Visitors to The Orchard at Montague will also have the opportunity to tour Montague’s new apple and stone fruit production facility. This tour will provide guests with a unique perspective on how apple processing has developed since 1948. Participants on a tour will witness firsthand the lengths that Montague go to ensure safe and healthy Australian grown fruit is packed and distributed to supermarkets and green grocers around-Australia every day

Montague has implemented a High-Risk COVID-Safe plan and continue to adhere to all ongoing directions, recommendations and guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding recommended measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission and ensure a safe environment for visitors and those working at The Orchard.

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