Home' Smart Farmer : October 2012 Contents October 2012
By PAULA THOMPSON
ACHERRY 'hobby' blossomed
into a business for third-gen-
eration grapegrower Tim
Tim bought a former dairyfarm in
1998 and, in 1999, began establish-
ing cherry trees on it. His passion
for the product, combined with
strong consumer demand led him to
establish about 2000 trees on more
than three hectares on his property.
"I originally bought the property
for vines, but cherries were some-
thing I just wanted to try growing
cherries in the Barossa Valley
because no one else was doing it,"
"And, with the amount of vines
that were being planted, I could see
there would be a time when there
would be an oversupply of grapes."
Tim runs 13ha of vines, with a
mix of grape varieties.
"There used to be a lot of orchards
in the Barossa Valley, with apricots
and peaches, but they've been disap-
pearing," he said.
"A lot of people said you couldn't
grow cherries in the Barossa Valley,
because there wasn't the chill factor,
but I knew from living here that it'd
"It really just started off as some-
thing I wanted to do in my back gar-
den, and as a hobby."
But, after using the skills of a hor-
ticulturalist to get his tree estab-
lished, Tim ended up planting a lot
more trees than he originally intend-
ed.The Barossa Farmer's Market was
his first sale outlet and it all pro-
gressed from there.
"My first thought was to worry
about growing the cherries, and
think about marketing them later,"
"I never intended to just supply a
wholesaler. I always wanted to sell
direct to the public in some way."
Tim sells through the Adelaide
Showground Farmers' Market and
supplies two local supermarkets in
the Barossa Valley.
Tim said producers considering
setting-up their own cherry orchard
would benefit from following some
"From my point of view, the
biggest thing is getting the right sort
of plant material," he said.
"I went to Flemings Nursery in
Victoria, because it's one of the lead-
ing nurseries in Australia for fruit
Tim said having a range of vari-
eties was an effective risk manage-
"I think it's important to source a
large range of varieties, rather than
rely on one or two," he said.
Tim has 16 varieties on his prop-
erty and their fruiting time spans
from November to the end of
December. This works as a sort of
insurance policy -- if it rains at a cer-
tain time of the year and the cher-
ries crack, other varieties at a
different stage of their cycle stay
"You can lose a crop at the drop of
a hat if it rains at harvest time," he
"Cherries are very susceptible to
cracking from heavy rain."
Tim said some varieties were nec-
essary for cross-pollination and
some others were self-fertile.
"It's important to have different
varieties to have that spread
throughout the season," he said.
"We start harvesting in November
with one variety, and then have
another variety ready 10 days later."
Tim said a crucial aspect to setting
up a cherry orchard was getting the
soil testing done.
"The one nutrient cherries really
need is calcium," he said.
"Calcium helps produce a firmer
cherry and makes it more able to
withstand the effects of rain. I have a
good amount of calcium in my soils,
because there's a lot of limestone in
"But I'd say the one thing you
absolutely need is soil testing, to see
if you need to put any extra nutri-
tion in the soil."
After managing and operating
vineyards most his life, Tim said
managing a cherry orchard was rela-
His trees get an application of the
organic fertiliser Neutrog once a
year, and a seaweed liquid kelp fer-
tiliser two to three times a year.
Tim says monitoring and early
action are crucial for keeping on top
of pests such as aphids, earwigs and
"Monitoring is really the biggest
thing, because each year the pest
pressure is different," he said.
"Some years cherry slug will be an
issue, but I haven't seen any now for
Tim prunes his cherry trees very
hard from a young age, then prunes
them every two years to maintain
them. He says this method encour-
ages new growth that is also
On the subject of market demand,
Tim says consumers love fresh cher-
"There is a really good demand for
the product. I sell at the shed door
as well as at the farmers' markets,"
"We're finding that with the trend
towards farmers' markets, there are a
lot more people sourcing products
direct from the grower."
Tim says growers need to be real-
istic when growing cherries because
they are easily affected by wet
"Cherry growers need to be pre-
pared to be disappointed if the
weather turns, but it can be
extremely rewarding when it all
works out," he said.
• Need to know more?
0429 642 421
Cherry hobby 'blossoms'
Who: Tim Fechner, wife Jayne
and brother David
Company: Barossa Cherries
Products: Fresh cherries
produced from November
through December and sold
direct to consumers
Cherries are no short-term
proposition as they take five
years to reach full production.
Soil testing is a crucial
step when establishing
Less work, more weekend
1800 888 114
Call for your
Order Now for 2013
Don't Miss Out
Are currently taking plant orders for
the Autumn 2013 planting season
You can select plants from our
extensive range or we can grow
your specific species.
Prices start at 85c for tray stock
-- Tubes $3
Discounts available for
orders over 600
Open 7 days by Appointment
Phone 8541 3163
or 0401 948 737
We sell direct to industry
horticulturalists, farmers and vignerons
Poultry manure compost ideal for:
• soil conditioning
• fertilising • water conservation
Haby Bulk Transport delivery can be arranged
0427 708 002
Established since 2000
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.nuleaforganics.websyte.com.au
Composted to AS44 54
Typical analysis -- Organic Carbon 29% N4.2% P2.2% K1.8% Calcium 3.6% and other minor elements
Links Archive September 2012 November 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page