A A$4.5m expansion project will see leading Tasmania’s cherry grower-packer-exporter Reid Fruits increase its presence on the global stage.
The investment will be made in establishing the company’s new 35ha Honeywood Orchard at Jericho in the island state’s Southern Midlands.
The orchard will house a 4ha greenhouse with a retractable roof, which has been designed to help mitigate the risk of weather damage to the crop.
Jerhico is located at a higher altitude to the majority of Tasmania’s existing cherry production in the Derwent and Huon valleys, with Reid Fruits hoping this will allow the company to extend its harvest window at the back end of the season.
The new orchard’s development comes as Reid Fruits looks to grow its footprint in international markets, with the company again targeting a high export rate with its top grade fruit this season.
“We expect exports to start around the third week of December and run through until the first week of February – perfect timing for Chinese New Year,” Reid Fruits managing director Tim Reid told Asiafruit. “Reid Fruits last season exported 85 per cent of our first grade fruit - given our access to international markets we prefer to concentrate on export development.”
The dual Tasmanian Exporter of Year for 2014-15, Reid Fruits is celebrating 160 years of continuous operation since James Reid, a pardoned convict, planted the first apple trees in the Huon Valley in 1856.
“Since then, we have survived mother nature, fluctuations in local and overseas markets, the rise and fall of the Australian dollar and pest & disease outbreaks,” Tim Reid said. “Perhaps the most significant decision Reid Fruits made was to relocate to the Derwent Valley and move from predominantly growing apples to growing cherries.”