Full productivity! Blooms and busy bee activity is the orchard picture postcard at this time of the year. WA has been experiencing some very mild spring weather with plenty of rain. Some regions have reported some sporadic – dare we say it – hail incidents. Fortunately, this occurred before fruit set. We are set ready to bask in the oncoming sunshine and the look to establishing the 2019 season.
September was a busy month for Pomewest, starting with our Industry Summit in Bunbury attended by around 25 WA growers. The program featured national industry guests including the APAL team headed by CEO Phil Turnbull and Hort Innovation’s Sam Turner and Olivia Grey. The spotlight of our Summit was a familiar tune: collaboration and unearthing opportunities to position the future growth of the pome business. We were also very fortunate to add to the program some innovative value-adding featuring local businesses Newleaf Orchards and Custard Cider Co, who presented their stories and provided tasting samples to the audience. The technical program featured information on Harvista from Agrofresh, and Brevis from ADAMA. All in all, the event was very successful and it promoted and encouraged good discussion. It was very much appreciated that APAL, Hort Innovation, and our other guests were able to contribute to the success of the day.
The spring Future Orchards orchard walk was held at Bluemoon Orchard in Mullalyup on the 28 September and focused on fruit quality. The take home message from the day was no surprise: good quality will sell more apples. Following along the theme of fruit quality, Pomewest have organised a group of growers to visit Market City and Woolworths Delivery Centre in November. They will be able to see firsthand the quality testing requirements of exported fruit and the biosecurity facilities used to treat imported fruit.
Pomewest was also involved in supporting the Perth Royal Show from 22 –29 September, made possible by funding supplied by Hort Innovation supporting the Aussie Apple message again this year. Our stand supported the WA regional display for local produce and featured WA grown BRAVO™ branded apple, Pink Lady®, and Granny Smith apples. This year we sampled 13,000 apple slices and sold over 3,000 apple slinkys. We also were happy to be able to feature samples of local WA made apple juices again supported by New Leaf Orchards. It was another successful show this year, and it was nice to see multiple generations of apple growers supporting the show.
In October, I was fortunate to meet up with the whole APAL team and my fellow state representatives for an overview and update session lead by Phil Turnbull. This was particularly useful to cement a national voice and to support a national outlook for the industry and its future. I applaud APAL for this opportunity, really enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of the group, and support this and future occasions to build on these relationships and outcomes.
To conclude, we in the West wish you and your families a safe and an enjoyable festive season. That is, before the next harvest comes knocking and we do it all again in 2019.