The Leone family has put its Ballykeane apple and pear orchards near Orange in Central West, NSW, up for sale after more than 45 years of ownership.
The aggregation, which could fetch as much as $16 million, sits on 190 hectares spread across the four standalone holdings of Ballykeane, StAlbans, Nashdale and Merlewood, located around the foothills of Mount Canobolas.
About 116 hectares are planted to apple and pear tree varieties with most of the trees under hail netting.
Ballykeane forms part of the Leone family’s vertically intergrated JW Kirwood fruit business, established in 1971. It includes a wholesale marketing arm based out of the Sydney markets.
As well as the Ballykeane orchards, the family owns the 120-hectare Ticehurst stone fruit orchard with 90,000 trees – the largest of its kind in southern Tasmania.
According to The Land, Salvatore and Giovanna Leone arrived in Australia in 1956 from Sicily, Italy, and made their way to Orange in 1974, where they purchased the Ballykeane orchard from G. and M. Edwards. They bought the Nashdale orchard in 1986 and St Albans in 2006.
Salvatore and Giovanna’s sons, Paul and Joe Leone, took over the business, with Paul heading up operations in Sydney and Joe managing the Orange orchards before he died in March this year.
Brian McMillan from Sydney Country Living and Angus Macleod from Colliers International are marketing the orchards through an expressions of interest campaign.
Included in the sale is a purpose-built packing shed that houses grading facilities, packing lines, cool rooms, controlled atmosphere rooms, an office and amenities. There are residences on all individual holdings.
Historically the aggregation has produced between 4500 and 5500 bins a year, with an average bin weighing 500 kilograms. The lower 2020 harvest of 3335 bins was due to the drought.
The apple varieties produced include red delicious, Granny Smith, sundowner, red Fuji, red gala, red pink lady and Fuji apple along with bosc pears.
The orchards are being sold at the same time as Paul and Jenny Leone relist the family’s trophy estate in Sydney’s Castle Hill with an asking price of $13 million.
The opulent five-bedroom house set on 1.58 hectares includes park-like gardens. a championship tennis court, stables and a dance studio. It was built in the 1960s by tobacco magnate Sir Ronald Irish. The Leone family bought it in 1977 for $255,000.
Mr McMillan is selling the Castle Hill mansion through private treaty.