Pickering Brook Orchard and Cider Maker CORE CIDER Wins Switched on Business Award​

David and Gabby Locke and the Entire Tech team receiving their Switched on Business Award from City of Armadale Mayor and Chairperson of the South East Regional Energy Group, Ruth Butterfield. They were joined by Cr Aaron Adams (City of Gosnells / SEREG delegate), City of Melville Business Development Advisor Stuart Tomlinson and Sustainability Engagement Officer Jess Sutherland. Photo credit: City of Melville. 

(Pictured Left -Right) Cr. Margaret Thomas JP (Mayor City of Kalamunda), Cr. Ruth Butterfield (SEREG Chair & Mayor City of Armadale), Ms. Emily Lyons (Core Cider), Ms. Meghan Freind (Core Cider)

On the last day of June, the Switched Your Thinking team, City of Kalamunda staff and representatives from the South East Regional Energy Group (SEREG) headed up to the pristine Pickering Brook to present a Switched on Business Award to Core Cider – an orchard, cider maker and local tourism destination. Core Cider were selected for the award due to its impressive sustainable ethos and determination to pass on a viable, ethical and environmentally friendly operation to future generations.”

About Core Cider

Core Cider is a fourth-generation orchard encompassing 40 acres of the Pickering Brook situated in the City of Kalamunda. It was first established in 1939 by Giovanni-Battista Della Franka (aka Jack) in 1939. When he was learning about the management of the orchard from his father, the current owners John Della Franca and his partner Emily Lyons started to ask themselves if there was a more natural way to look after the orchard, rather than relying on chemical pesticides. Slowly but surely, John started to use natural alternatives on his fruit trees and the results now speak for themselves. The orchard has expanded to over 4000 fruit trees providing 9 different types of fruit ranging from apples and pears to citrus and plums. In 2005 the orchard made the transition from fruit production for supermarkets over to the production and distribution of 100% naturally grown fruit cider. The business has also become a top tourist destination opening an award-winning restaurant in 2010, which has been the recipient of numerous awards including…

      • A Gold Medal for Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services and a Silver Medal for Excellence in Food Tourism at the 2021 Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards.

      • Silver in the 2022 Australian Tourism Award

    (Pictured Left – Right) Cr. Dean Strautins (Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale), Ms. Nicole O’Neill (City of Kalamunda), Cr. Margaret Thomas JP (Mayor City of Kalamunda), Ms. Emily Lyons (Core Cider), Cr Aaron Adams (City of Gosnells), Ms. Michelle Taylor (City of Kalamunda), Cr. Serena Williamson (City of Gosnells), Cr. Ruth Butterfield (SEREG Chair & Mayor City of Armadale)

    A sustainability ethos

    The principal aim of core cider is to ‘Craft Moments’ through the connection and bounty of the orchard and provide experiences that educate, enrich and awaken the senses.

    “A sustainability ethos is at the heart of all tiers of the business to pass on a viable and sustainable enterprise for future generations. It just makes sense!” Emily Lyons (Co-owner)

    This sustainability ethos that the owners and team at Core Cider have developed encompasses the entire business operation from the orchard to the production of cider and finally the restaurant. This includes the following commitments:

        1. Chemical-free processes, systems and procedures are employed wherever possible, with a further commitment to investigate emerging natural alternatives as they are made available.

        1. Ownership of developing and maintaining environmental best practice and procedures.

        1. Reducing waste-to-landfill, power and water consumption as well as any other environmental impacts.

        1. Environmental impact monitoring and a frequent review of operational procedures to identify opportunities for improved performance.

      Sustainable actions taken

      John and Emily along with their team at Core Cider have taken the following proactive steps to help ensure the sustainable operation and long-term viability of their business…

          • Energy reduction: 150 solar panels on the shed roof. It takes a huge amount of energy to run 4 commercial coolrooms! Over the past year the panels have saved (*measured through Fronius inverter App) Energy: 27.5 MWh, CO2 = 16,972kg, Trees = 4629

        Picture of 27.5MWh 150 panel solar system installed on the cool rooms at core cider. Since installation the system has generated 392MWh of electricity. saved $78,306.94 in associated electricity charges, and reduced carbon emissions by 208 tons. This in turn is equivalent to 1,383,423 of vehicle kilometres travelled or 5,321 trees planted as offsets.

            • Water use reduction: State of the art Taylex water treatment system – This system allows waste-water from the restaurant and beverage production to be treated and utilised on the orchard, dramatically decreasing bore water use. Savings are ~ 6 ML/ha per year.

          Signage demonstrating how the water treatment system works as well as providing an explanation of the Anaerobic and Aerobic digestion processes involved.

              • Education: Promotion of the business’ sustainable practices through tours and Pick-Your-Own experiences espouses a ‘support local’ mentality to support WA produced and grown, highlighting the need to protect the wider environment for future generations.

              • Recycling and waste diversion: A Partnership with Future Green Solution WA and Richgro to transform waste pulp into natural fertiliser., as well as providing compost for the orchard. Compostable cutlery and plates in the Cider Garden aid with recycling initiatives. Savings include ~ 5T of unwanted waste pulp. Future Green has unfortunately recently ceased operation, but the team at Core cider are currently looking for a new partner to continue this process with.

              • Responsible purchasing and stock control: Sourcing from local suppliers, using orchard produce on the menus, buying in bulk and efficient stock management saves waste-to-landfill (and money!) due to less packaging and less food miles. Core Cider’s Buy West Eat Best partnership cements their WA produced and grown ethos: at least 70% of menu offerings are from local produce. Core Cider’s policy is also to provide ‘produce from the orchard on every dish’!

              • Staff training and awareness: Staff feedback, encouragement and involvement regarding their sustainability measures enables eco-conscious and empowered staff.

              • Chemical free systems: Using spray free, sustainable systems on the orchards 4000 trees = zero contamination and a safe Pick-Your-Own experience for tour guests! Cleaning products utilised through restaurant areas are ecofriendly, further reducing chemical contamination.

            Switch Your Thinking was very impressed with Core Cider’s commitment to sustainability and the teams willingness to remain open to new ideas as they look for new opportunities to further improve the environmental management and sustainability of their operations. The provision of detailed information on energy and carbon savings during the application process was also very well received. A further congratulations to John, Emily and the team at Core Cider for their hard work and dedication.

            During the most recent round of the Switched on Business Award, the South East Regional Energy Group also acknowledge the efforts of Green Leaves Early Learning (City of Canning), Neon Leadership (City of Wanneroo) and Quenda Guesthouse (Shire of Mundaring), which each received a Certificate of Commendation for their work toward embedding sustainable practices in their workplaces.

            Switch your Thinking developed the Switched On Business Award to celebrate and recognise sustainability action in local businesses across Switch Your Thinking partner councils in the Perth metropolitan area. For more information about the next round and to nominate a local business, contact mail@switchyourthinking.com or visit our website.