No bit­ter taste af­ter this cit­rus ad­ven­ture

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

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.

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