THE owners of a certified organic orchard in Harcourt are seeking to help another emerging farmer find their feet in the industry.
Hugh and Katie Finlay have opened expressions of interest for at least a three-year lease of their orchard.
The successful applicant will care for 4000 trees, growing cherries, apricots, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, and apples.
The lease includes all the infrastructure required, as well as established markets, and mentoring from the Finlays.
The successful applicant would also become part of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op - a group of farmers working together to regenerate the Finlays' farm, which also includes a micro-dairy, market garden, and a fruit tree nursery.
"It's a really great business opportunity for somebody. They get to walk into a fully-formed business," Ms Finlay said.
She said the costs of establishing a farming business were some of the biggest barriers aspiring and emerging farmers faced.
The offer to lease the orchard had received quite a bit of interest.
"Quite a lot of the interest so far is coming from people that have been customers of the orchard," Ms Finlay said.
This is not the first time the Finlays have put the orchard up for lease. They extended the offer to former intern Ant Wilson nearly three years ago now.
"Ant is now moving on to do his own thing, and while we're sad to see him go, we're really pleased to be able to offer the opportunity to the next person who has the drive, ambition and desire to run their own orchard business," Ms Finlay said.
Mr Wilson's lease comes to a close at the end of the financial year, giving the successful applicant, or applicants, an opportunity to learn from him for some time before their term started, if desired.
Ms Finlay said the ideal applicant/s would have some fruit growing or farming experience, and experience with organics.
For more information, visit growgreatfruit.com/expression-of-interest/
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