The Chinese have a growing taste for Australian cherries, but with almost 8000-kilometres separating Sydney and Shanghai, keeping them as fresh for the plate as when they're popped into pickers mouth in Nashdale is a challenge.
Third-generation producer Luke Cantrill will be given the time and money to research growing organically and packing for longevity when he heads off on an round-the-world reconnaissance mission in 2020.
The Nashdale cherry grower is one of seven NSW producers awarded the Nuffield Farming Scholarships for 2020, with each receiving a $30,000 bursary to travel the world researching their chosen study topics.
Mr Cantrill will spend six weeks touring Chili, Argentina, US, Canada, Spain and Italy with a group of 12 international farmers to learn from leading producers.
He'll then spend 6-8 weeks on a self-guided trip to China, US and Europe researching the drivers of success in horticulture and viticulture businesses, international production systems, export opportunities and the cold chain.
Mr Cantrill said cherries are a high-risk crop in terms of weather, with hail, rain, too much wind and too much sun all presenting a threat.
While the 15 hectares of cherry orchards, grown on the property he shares with his parents John and Debbie Cantrill, partner Lea and their three children is already certified organic, Mr Cantrill said they're fairly small scale compared to cherry farms in Chilli and the US.
"This is an opportunity to get out there and see what other techniques are being used," he said.
"The idea is to create something that's profitable and sustainable and something that will still be there for my children when they're grown up, if they want it."
At the end of Mr Cantrill's research trip he will present his findings at the Nuffield National Conference in September 2020, alongside the other scholarship recipients.
Chair of Nuffield's NSW committee, and 2015 Scholar, Andrew Freeth said it was inspiring to see the scholarship recipients focus on sustainability given the tough conditions across the state.
"Equally important is the research focus on boosting productivity through new cropping methods, generating stronger data on land values, accessing new markets and product lines, and better understanding the common threads of success for young producers," he said.
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