No bitter taste after this citrus adventure
A CHANCE tasting of an unusual Asian citrus fruit could see a new crop added to Victoria’s list of exports.
Eurobin growers Jane and Brian Casey first tasted yuzu when they travelled to Japan to promote another crop they grow – chestnuts.
It sparked their interest so much they planted about two hectares or 1200 trees but the Caseys recognised there was much they needed to know to capitalise on what they saw as an emerging export market.
It was here that Food Source Victoria stepped in, awarding Jane a scholarship to study yuzu in its native Japan.
Jane’s scholarship saw her travel to Koichi, the main yuzu growing region in Japan, to gain knowledge on the growth habits of the tree and management including pruning and fertiliser use to enhance fruit quality and production.
She also learned more about how to grade and pack the fruit for export sale.
The new knowledge gained on the Food Source Victoria scholarship has already created major changes in the Caseys’ orchard including increasing the spacing between trees.
Mrs Casey said she saw potential for other growers to become involved in growing yuzu.
“Although our current orchard is young, we have committed substantial resources to it,” Mrs Casey said.
“Our current planting is 1000 trees and this will expand to 2000 trees in the next 12 months.
“Having the knowledge to produce top quality fruit, and being able to pass on that knowledge to other growers, will be integral to achieving success for this crop.”
Food Source Victoria project manager Susan Findlay said the Caseys had shown what could be achieved through the project’s scholarship program.
“The opportunities that are opening up, not only for the Caseys but potentially for other growers, could be really important and are exactly the outcomes we aim for,” Ms Findlay said.
To date, 19 people have been successful in gaining Food Source Victoria scholarships. Further information is at: http:// agriculture. vic. gov. au/ agriculture/ food- and- fibre- industries/ food- sourcevictoria.
To apply, please contact Susan Findlay on susan. findlay@ ecodev. vic. gov. au.