BY TONY KAYE | BUSINESS SPECTATOR It’s 9am, on a Friday morning, and Tony Ceravolo has already clocked up roughly eight hours of work, having just returned from the Adelaide Produce Market after selling a truckload of fruit.
It’s his daily routine, for six days out of seven. Get up 1am, drive his load of apples (and pears, cherries, stone fruit and strawberries — depending on the season) from his family’s farm in the Adelaide Hills to the wholesale market in Pooraka, returning to the farm before 9am, when most others are just starting their day.
Some would put it down to insomnia but Tony, 48, says it’s all about passion. As head of an agricultural operation that employs around 100 people, and which is growing strongly as his family expands into new areas, it would be fairly easy to get someone else to do the night shift. But Tony wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, the early bird catches the worm.
“It’s in my blood. I’ve been doing it since I was 18, and I still love to go. We’re pretty passionate about what we do. Some people call me ‘the apple man’ because of that.”
The Ceravolo name has been part of the Adelaide farming community since the 1950s, when Tony’s father Ralph and mother Josephine began growing potatoes, onions, cauliflowers and cabbages on a small plot of land in Marble Hill, after migrating from Italy. To broaden their output, the family planted apple trees — and pretty soon, vegetables were just a sideline.