For Peter and Frances Bender farming, whether it is on land or sea, has always been about family, passion, care and quality.
As local Tasmanians Peter and Frances met by chance in 1978 on the Ida Bay Railway, Australia’s southern-most railway, and just two years later they were married and managing the family cattle and sheep farming property in the Huon.
While being farmers they branched out into many other business ventures including owning and running a butchers shop, starting the first ever trellised apricot orchard in Tasmania and running a small excavating business to help on the cattle farm. This entrepreneurial vein in their lives would be just a hint of what was to come.
In 1986 they started farming fish as part of the family business, with one pen of trout and one lone employee.
All this whilst still running the butcher shop, managing and working on the cattle farm, running the apricot orchard and raising three small children!
Seven years later in 1994 they decided to buy the fish farm from the family company and their life as full time salmon and trout farmers began.
Peter and Frances began as contract growers, selling their fish to other companies, before realising they wanted to control other parts of the chain to ensure that quality shone through and to enable the company brand to be established in its own right.
In 2005 they stepped out from behind the contract grower model and the Huon brand was born.
They purchased a factory, Springs Smoked Seafoods, in Adelaide in 2006 which enabled them to offer a complete range of products from whole fresh fish to smoked salmon to markets across Australia and internationally.
In the space of just a couple of years Huon established a recirculation hatchery, acquired leases in Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania, began processing its own whole salmon in leased premises and then purchased, renovated and commissioned its world class Parramatta Creek processing plant in the north of the State.
Huon has since built a new factory alongside the existing Parramatta Creek plant which was officially opened in July 2015. The new facility is unique by global standards with whole fresh fish coming in one end and smoked packaged product coming out the other, resulting in some of the freshest salmon products in the world.
Peter and Frances, alongside the extended Huon family of approximately 550 employees, believe in continuing to expand Huon Aquaculture in a sustainable way to meet a growing market here in Australia and internationally.
They recognise that developing and instituting new technologies such as introducing well boats and larger pens not only helps to grow more fish but it also allows for efficiency throughout the company, helping us continue to lead the way in both environmental and business standards.
No matter what size the business grows to, Peter and Frances continue to strive for excellence, never shying away from ensuring that Huon is known as the best producer of salmon and salmon products in the world – and most importantly, all proudly produced in Tasmania.