YOUNG is known for many things, from cherries to Nathan Lyon, but soon it may become the mustard capital of Australia.
A former mustard oil plant based in Cowra and run by Palos Verdes was recently acquired by a group of businessmen from Young who have formed the company Australian Mustard Oil (AMO).
While the buyout has been public knowledge for nearly 18 months, building of the site has finally started in Young near the AMBOS silos after the Cowra-based factory closed its doors in August.
Russell Healey, chairman of AMO and Healey Energy, is one of the directors and hails from Young. He anticipates that the first batch of product will be shipped out to Japan and India by the end of November.
“We have two main products that we will be producing and shipping from our plant here in Young,” he said.
“One is mustard seed oil and the other is an essence (volatile oil of mustard).
“Both serve different purposes and we are the only plant in the southern hemisphere making these products.”
Mustard seed oil is traditionally used as a cooking oil, while the essence contains glucosinolates which, when extracted from the meal, is used in wasabi.
“Mustard varieties also have different glucosinolate levels depending on type and taste,” Mr Healey said.
Initially, the plant should create eight jobs in Young but Mr Healey predicts this will grow as demand increases.
“I couldn’t say yet but we anticipate more jobs for Young,” he said.
“We also intend to sign up more farmers as a variety of sources for this product is paramount if we are to keep up supply,” Mr Healey said.
“We are even researching the potential use in anti-bacterial sprays. A substantial budget has been set aside for research and development of new products and it is this initiative which will produce growth in the company.
“This would mean that there could possibly be a medicinal use as well as a food demand.”
Currently Canada and the Ukraine produce the most product in the mustard industry, however Healey hopes that the new plant will hold it’s own.
“It’s a natural product and I think that will appeal to everyone,” he said.
“Once we start operating and producing in the first week of November it will be exciting to be part of a growing export business that has the opportunity to add value to local produce and provide jobs in a regional centre.”
For former Department of Agriculture agronomist and consultant to Australian Mustard Oil, Paul Parker, the development is a coup for Young.
“It is beneficial to farmers as well as the economy and those looking for jobs,” he said.
“As the demand expands and more farmers across Australia sign up to supply mustard seed it will no doubt have a positive flow on effect across the board.
“Russell Healey and the other directors have been very active and this can only be a positive for our community.”
Farmers in South Australia, Victoria and NSW have been added to provide product and Parker echoes Healey’s sentiments regarding supply.
“As demand gets higher so will the need to have a variety of sources for the plant,” Mr Parker said.
“This is a real boost not just for the town but for farmers and Australia.”