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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Reid Cherry Farming

Reid Cherry Farming

The cherry business has huge potential for supplying the Japanese market in their off season,
and this year being the first year for exporting commercial scale from Tasmania it is the trial run for the Reid family to come up with the goods to a standard expected by the Japanese buyer. The fruit we are currently sorting and packing is not the highly prized white flesh fruit that is the ultimate aim of the Tasmanian farming enterprise, but they are very high quality black cherries. Each fruit is carefully looked over to ensure that there are no marks or blemishes that reduces its appeal, so the amount of discarded fruit is quite high. The Japanese inspectors and buyers watch our progress, ensuring that their standards are met. The fruit is also treated to ensure that there is no insect or living creature hidden away in a desperate attempt to immigrate to Japan.

On the printmaking front, the countdown in on for the start of uni again, so my moments in the studio are all the more precious as the space becomes limited when the undergrads hit the floor. I will have to become an after hours printer to get all the projects I have planned to some sort of realisation! OK its off to work then...
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Cherry Sortin'
Tuesday 10, January

Late yesterday I got a call for a cherry packing job. This may not seem like a guts and glory type job, but in the cut throat world of cherry growers its all about size and imperfections. Tasmaniain cherry growers have been wrestling for a place in the Japanese cherry market for several years, but they have to meet very strict standards and grow 'the right' sort of fruit to keep the customers happy. As a homestay host I have watched my Japanese guests on many occasions as they cautiously approach the task of selecting a piece of fruit. To us wisened Aussies, eating a cherry is just a matter of grabbing a handful and relishing the juicy fruit as it bursts in the mouth with each vigorous bite. The students, on the other hand, would go about task with ceremony. Each piece of fruit is carefully inspected until one that is sufficient in perfection is found, then rolled around for a minute or two more. The fruit then goes through a cleaning and polishing process, until its optimum potential in shine and zing is reached. Then the moment of teeth to fruit is slow and deliberate, nibbles not bites.

So when we are sorting the cherries for the Japanese market, the first shipment today for this particular crop, the quality control starts with the Japanese representatives overseeing the process, the removal of any fruit with any form of mark and imperfection and the guidance of a quarantine officer who ensured that the area was kept insect free for the whole time with the use of a double door lock system, and finishes with crates of cherries packed and swiftly flown off to foriegn shores. Its an adventure, isn't it? And this week I will be able to buy some paper for my printmaking!


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