Homegrown Hero: Harvey Citrus

Case Study: Harvey Citrus

Location: Harvey

It all began in 1967 when a young man named Steve Pergoliti arrived in Australia.

He quickly gained a reputation for his strong work ethic, which he demonstrated through his first jobs in the country at well-known businesses such as Harvey Water (originally known as PWD – Public Works Department) and load out night shift at Harvey Beef. During weekdays, he would roll up his sleeves and get to work tree felling in the bush for Western Power, providing timber for their power poles.

Hard Work Creates a Business

One year into his weekend day job at the old Johnson’s orchard, the idea for Harvey Citrus was born. Together with his wife Pina, Steve purchased a two-hectare block on Third Street in Harvey that would become the catalyst for their business.

The early days weren’t easy for the young family. Steve had to keep working his day jobs along with making use of his guitar and mandolin talents to play at local venues, ensuring the family was always provided for.

In time, Steve’s passion for growing citrus fruit soon bore fruit, and he started making deliveries in an old open truck to major supermarkets in locations like Bunbury, Rockingham, and Narrogin.

I think we have a chance to really do something for ourselves and the family.

Steve Pergoliti, describing a moment of realisation in the early days of Harvey Citrus


The Turning Point

Only a few years into the business’s journey, Steve received a call from Coles, asking him to stop delivering to their supermarkets. However, the reason for the call was a pleasant surprise. Coles were so impressed with the quality of Harvey Citrus’ fresh produce that they wanted the farm to start supplying directly to their distribution centre in Perth, with fruit from Harvey in turn being sent all over Western

This marked a turning point for Harvey Citrus, and the partnership with Coles has grown considerably over the past four decades. Harvey Citrus now makes six deliveries a week to the distribution centre.

In 2022, Harvey Citrus produced over 2,300 tonnes of citrus and avocados combined. The farm now grows 10 different fresh produce lines.

In 2015, Harvey Citrus received a $500,000 grant as part of Coles Nurture Fund programme, which led to the planting of over 9,000 new trees.

Technology in Agriculture

Harvey Citrus strongly believes in the role of technology in the evolution of the industry. In 2018, the farm purchased new fruit sorting and packing line technology that was installed at its Fifth Street premises. An impressive feature of the new technology is its nine cameras, which have been programmed to identify and sort all variations of fresh produce through factors such as colour, eliminating the need for human eyes.

The technology has also increased productivity, turning tasks handled by a team of people from a full-day job down to an impressive one-to-two-hour job, with no human hands required.

During the peak growing season, Harvey Citrus employs up to 30 people. The business doesn’t export, and excess fruit is sent to the market floor in Canning Vale.

Keeping it in the Family: Challenges and Successes

One of the significant challenges for a business like Harvey Citrus is when a supermarket no longer wants to take one of the lines of fresh produce that you grow for them. It’s a long process to transition from one line of fruit to producing a different variety that is in more demand, taking four to five years.

Harvey Citrus has faced these types of scenarios over the years, as consumer tastes evolve, demonstrating a high level of resilience, a quality that the Pergoliti family has in spades. All family members who are part of the business wear many hats to keep the business going.

They are also making efforts to protect the environment to ensure future generations have the same opportunities they have had, including using solar energy for its entire operation and reusable crates when transporting all their fruit.


We are definitely not experts, but when growing our citrus products, we put a lot of effort into it…so we are doing the same with our avocados and hoping we can grow a good product.

Steve Pergoliti, Harvey Citrus


The Next Generation of Harvey Citrus

Steve and Pina still believe that Harvey is the best town in WA to live, raise a family, and grow a business like Harvey Citrus. Their belief in Harvey has proven well-placed with the success of Harvey Citrus, and their son Andrew has been a driving force behind that success.

Since officially joining the family business at the age of 17, Andrew has played an instrumental role in the farm’s growth to a footprint of over 200 acres. He has implemented innovative farming techniques and modern technology, such as the introduction of the new age sorting and packing system in 2018.

Avocados Spearhead Diversification

Andrew has also spearheaded the diversification of the business into avocados and overseen the planting of over 9,000 new trees as part of the Coles Nurture Fund programme. He is a testament to the Pergoliti family’s hardworking spirit and dedication to growing the best produce possible.

The Pergoliti family’s dedication, resilience and willingness to embrace new technology have been critical factors in the business’s success.

As Harvey Citrus continues to grow and expand, the family’s commitment to sustainability, quality, and community remains at the forefront of their operations.

Source Now

Harvey Citrus products are available through Coles and other leading retailers.

T: +61 8 9729 3861

E: info@harveycitrus.com.au

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