Ashton Valley Fresh is a South Australian juicing company producing premium quality fruit juice, who are committed to creating an entire chain of production with minimal environmental impact. One major challenge Ashton Valley Fresh is currently facing is how to use the waste product called pomace, after milling and pressing fruit such as apples. This by-product consisting mainly of skin, flesh, core, seeds and stems of the apple, however due to the high-water content and fermentable sugars, this product has short primary usability.

Currently the by-product is being used as stock feed, but due its quick spoilage it’s only able to be used for a couple of days before going to landfill as waste. This poses a great limitation in how much of the pomace can be used as feed and the distance it can be shipped for feed.

To reduce the amount of pomace going to landfill two strategies are being explored. The first one is to preserve the pomace so more can be used as livestock feed allowing for transportation to farms further away and for it to be used over multiple days. The second is looking at other avenues the pomace can be used, such as turning it into value added products for human consumption.

Under the umbrella of the Research Consortium for Agricultural Product Development, researchers at UniSA are working to help overcome these challenges by identifying microbes (e.g., yeasts) that contribute to the spoilage, and ways to preserve the wet pomace with food safe additives. Furthermore, the effects of various drying methods on the preservation and properties of the dried pomace are being investigated for the production of value added products. 

Ashton Valley Fresh is an Industry Partner in the RC-APD, the two photos show Joseph Ceravolo (Ashton Valley Fresh General Manager), Paul Ewins (Production Manager) and Joyce Ceravolo (Business Development Manager) in their apple orchard and the apple processing facility in Ashton, Adelaide Hills.

Ashley Harrat can be seen here in one of UniSA’s laboratories using a freeze dryer to dry a sample of apple pomace.