Ardmona orchardist to appear on TV cooking show

By Country News

A familiar face will appear on Channel Seven’s My Kitchen Rules tonight.

Goulburn Valley fruit grower Rocky Varapodio will appear in a product segment after supplying program sponsor Coles with fresh fruit for more than 15 years.

‘"It was great to meet with the contestants and educate them on the produce, the different regions, fruit seasonality and the importance of freshness,’" Mr Varapodio said.

"They were all extremely kind and expressed genuine interest in understanding how we grow and supply quality fresh produce."

Mr Varapodio and his wife Carolyn supply Coles with apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums from their Ardmona-based Oakmoor Orchards, founded in 1930.

Mr Varapodio is a third-generation orchardist and was last year awarded a $500 000 Coles Nurture Fund grant to innovate the horticulture industry by introducing a new pear variety, Honey Belle, to Australia.

"Coles has continuously provided support to Oakmoor Orchards and has helped us expand the business to bring new customers and innovative fresh produce such as the Honey Belle pear,’" Mr Varapodio said.

He said being on the television program would help to educate people about the importance of fresh, Australian-sourced produce.

Coles’ fresh produce general manager Brad Gorman was delighted to see Mr Varapodio reach a national audience through the show.

‘‘This is a great way we can celebrate our local suppliers and the innovative, high-quality produce they bring to our customers,’’ he said.

My Kitchen Rules is on from 7.30pm tonight on Channel Seven.

Story by: Tara Whitsed