Growers and grocers get stonefruit orchard insight

Traprock Growers and Grocers experience provides valuable insight into stonefruit industry


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OPEN ORCHARD: Stacey Colthup and Nigel Pratt with John and Julie Pratt, Traprock Orchard, Waghorn, Stanthorpe, within their orchard which they opened to greengrocers and growers last Saturday in order to give an insight into stonefruit production.

OPEN ORCHARD: Stacey Colthup and Nigel Pratt with John and Julie Pratt, Traprock Orchard, Waghorn, Stanthorpe, within their orchard which they opened to greengrocers and growers last Saturday in order to give an insight into stonefruit production.

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Stonefruit picking is underway in Queensland's Traprock Region, and some out-of-towners got a first-hand look.

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THE Traprock Region’s stonefruit growers joined forces with Montague Fresh Wholesalers and Divine Fruits to host green grocers and speciality fruit shop owners last Saturday.

With the stonefruit picking starting last week, a group of about 40 grocers toured Rosemary Hill Orchard owned by the Ferrier family, Pikes Creek Orchard owned by the Finlay family, and Traprock Orchard, owned by the Pratt family, all situated west of Stanthorpe.

The grocers heard about the challenges and triumphs of growing stonefruit in the region.

They were told of the harder growing season during the dry weather and unusually warm winter, where some plums did not set fruit  as they didn’t accumulate the required “chill hours” required. 

Guests were hosted to a gourmet lunch presented by the McGregor Terrace Food Project that incorporated local produce in the Pratt family’s packing shed. 

A white peach gin and basil cocktail was served, followed by an entree of a salad of peach, shaved fennel, roast capsicum bresaola and house-made fetta.

The main course consisted of a spit roast of locally sourced Mallow organic lamb, accompanied by roast vegetables and salads.

Duncan Ferrier, Rosemary Hill Orchard, Stanthorpe with the Honey May variety of nectarines.

Duncan Ferrier, Rosemary Hill Orchard, Stanthorpe with the Honey May variety of nectarines.

Dessert was warm roasted stonefruit salad freshly picked.

The meal was accompanied by a selection of locally produced wines produced under the Rosemary Hill label, who grow wine grapes for the local vineyard, Symphony Hills.   

The event was organised by Mira Milich of Divine Fruits who is  very proud and passionate about Australian growers and representing the growers of Traprock Region Stone Fruit.

Divine Fruits brings the growers’ story to the consumer and greengrocers through social media.

“I think it's important that Queenslander’s know where the fresh produce comes from and how it all evolves in the orchard,” Mira said. 

“Last season many green grocers said that they were keen to have an orchard experience, so I posed the question to the growers and eight months later we turned the idea into an event, The Growers and Grocers Orchard Experience.

“It was a great success and the green grocers were absolutely overwhelmed with a wonderful sensory experience and a chance to meet the growers one-on-one. 

“The grocers said they all enjoyed it so much, that it would be a great idea to turn it into an annual event.”

Many of the grocers said they now had a greater appreciation of what goes into producing quality stonefruit, while the growers were delighted to meet the retailers who sell their produce.

The success of the event would not have been achieved without the growers contribution, the green grocers taking time away from their businesses and the wholesaler Montague.

The story Growers and grocers get stonefruit orchard insight first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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