LOCAL organic fruit growers will be sharing their expertise on fruit production at several workshops in Harcourt and Melbourne, starting this month.
Hugh and Katie Finlay from Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens will hold the six workshops at their Harcourt orchard and at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Melbourne.
The workshops start on April 18 and will cover topics such as pruning, building healthy soil, making compost tea, dealing with pests and diseases and growing fruit trees from scratch.
The half-day workshops will have both practical and theoretical components to them.
Mrs Finlay said the series was a reaction to the amount of questions they were asked at farmers’ markets when selling their organic produce.
“We get a lot of questions from people who are growing their own fruit (and) most questions are about mistakes they have already made,” she said.
“Growing fruit is not rocket science but you need to know what to do when.”
She said the workshops would cater for everyone from backyard gardens, to people looking to diversify their farming operation.
“It’s suitable for anyone who has just one tree up to a small commercial scale,” Mrs Finlay said.
“We’ve already had someone sign up whose on a farm and put in 50 trees as an extra value add on to their farm.
“That sort of thing is perfect.”
Mrs Finlay said those who could not attend all six workshops should attend the Yearly Fruit Tree Planner.
“It’s an overview and you will end up with a seasonal plan and you will know everything you need to do in advance,” she said.
She said the other workshops offered more specific information and skills.
“Making your own compost tea is a particular interest of ours.
“We know there’s interest out there but not many people know how to do it.”
Tickets for the workshops are $44 each. For more information see www.workshops.growgreatfruit.com.au
LOCAL organic producers agree with research conducted by a United States university which shows consumers perceive productions labelled organic as better for them.
Cornell University researchers labelled identical organic biscuits, potato chips and plain yoghurt as organic and non-organic and asked 144 people to rate the products based on taste, perception and fat content.
The participants overwhelmingly favoured those labelled organic, which researchers call the “halo effect”.
Central Victorian organic producers say the idea that organic food was perceived as better for people was true.
Campbells Creek organic food delivery business The Food Box owner Graham Cullen said organic food did taste better.
“Organic and particularly bio-dynamic produce tastes like it is alive,” he said. “Once you start eating organic food or growing your own food, it’s very hard to go back to things that have been stored for long periods or are packaged.
“More people have developed a love of growing their own food. “They then have a better appreciation for food and go out and seek businesses who provide quality organic produce like ourselves.”