The first illuminated semi-closed greenhouse in Australia was delivered last summer. It is an 8-hectare ModulAIR project that we built in Two Wells, 50 km north of Adelaide. Perfection Two Wells has been involved in tomato cultivation for many years, and we asked Michael Simonetta, CEO of Perfection Fresh Group, about his experiences during the building process. Michael has been instrumental in taking his family-owned business from a small operation based at Sydney Markets to a sizeable grower, marketer and processor of fresh fruit and vegetables.
1. Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us something about your carreer?
I studied and practised accountancy for six years before joining Perfection Fresh as part of the sales team in 1984; I became CEO in 1991. I am currently serving as a Director on the Board of Produce Marketing Association.
2. How did Perfection Two Wells develop? What is the business vision of your company?
When we first built stage 1, we did so because we felt there was a shortage of high-tech production capacity in Australia. This changed in the ensuing years as we and others expanded. Our business vision is that we will continue to lead the fresh food revolution by making the best varieties available as we explore the world of taste, at the optimum times for the Australian consumer and with the ultimate goal of increasing consumption.
3. Last summer, the 5th phase of Perfection Two Wells was delivered. How did you experience this building period What did you like most?
The building experience was excellent, Van der Hoeven and the Perfection team worked very closely. They ensured all works were co-ordinated together without delays or compromises to the project. The teamwork of Erik from Van der Hoeven and Harald from Patron with our team ensured the project was enjoyable.
4. Van der Hoeven built 4 out of 5 phases for you, can you tell us something about the relationship we have built up over more than 15 years?
The relationship between Perfection and VDH is very strong, after years of working with Peter Spaans I know we can agree on things verbally, and the trust we have in each other ensures there will be no conflicts.
5. We built the first greenhouse for you in 2007; it was equipped with a pad & fan technique. Many innovations have taken place in the last 15 years, this year we built a semi-closed greenhouse; what is is your experience using the ModulAIR technique?
It is now approximately 5 months that the VDH semi-close has been in operation. Concerning climate, we see that the greenhouse can maintain the desired climate between 27-30 °C when we had an outside temperature of 38 °C and humidity at less than 5%. The real test for this system will be when temperatures rise above 40 °C, for multiple days, which will happen in January and/or February, and plants’ cooling capacity will drop. Concerning humidity, the greenhouse has been able to maintain the desired humidity day and night so far, thanks to the way its fans and windows mixing work. In short, so far so good.
6. The total greenhouse surface is 43 hectares at this moment, that makes Perfection Two Wells one of Australia's largest tomato greenhouses. How did you organise the packaging and sales process? How large is the area of distribution?
All sales are managed by our tomato category team, comprising of experienced industry sales experts. Packaging is done on site at Two Wells utilising various state of the art machinery for different applications that we need for different customers. We distribute across Australia and have recently, since the completion of Stage 5, commenced exporting some product to Asia.