A change of crop BEFORE they turned to custard apples, Tintenbar horticulturalists David and Sarah Lilford were used to very different farming conditions in Zimbabwe.
David, a third generation agriculturist, lived on the family property in the central highlands with his children and grandchildren, at an altitude of 4300 feet, where wet summers and dry winters were ideal for growing tobacco, citrus and passionfruit in the sandy ray ban rb3025 soil. For Sarah, who lived further down slope on red soil, the hotter and drier conditions were ideal for growing broad acre crops like cotton, wheat, soy and even export roses. Both ex pats were literally thrown off their farms during political upheaval at the start of this millennium and finding each other proved a blessing amidst chaos. The pair married and moved to Australia to begin a new life, eventually settling on the North Coast and buying a young custard apple plantation at a time when they had never seen, let alone tasted, the sweet fruit. But farming is in the blood, and a good farmer in Zimbabwe makes an exceptionally good one in Australia. Today the couple, who have nine adult children between them, work their farm alone, with minimal outside labour, although they are part of a local marketing group. And their product is highly sought after by consumers because of its excellent presentation. "We wash, brush and pack every piece of fruit," Sarah said. "We actually bring each piece of fruit out of the orchard insulated in bubble wrap to keep it from being marked," David said. The pair also picks their fruit as close to maturity as possible, to present a good looking product with excellent eating qualities. "We are fortunate to have a ready market in Sydney for all our first grade fruit," David said. "And our second grade fruit also sells very well." The unusual fruit is actually a hybrid of two South American varieties of annona the sugar apple and the cherimoya. Rich in sugar it has only a moderate glycemic load and rates low on the glycemic index. It has been used to help with diabetes and some studies suggest it can lower cholesterol and even has anti cancer properties. In animal studies the fruit has reduced abdominal fat by 20%. And yet the average Australian has never eaten this Shrek like fruit, with its globular green skin giving it an almost otherworldly appearance. For the Lilfords the best outlet for their produce is the Asian market, which knows the fruit, but they would love others to learn about and enjoy the fruit. "We shop ray ban sunglasses make a good living here but it is constant hard work," David said. During the harvest season which runs from May into October fruit is picked in the morning and packed in the afternoon and often delivered the same day, making for little downtime. During the off season the couple spends six weeks pruning their 970 trees to encourage fruit set and to keep their orchard manageable, finishing the job before flowering in December. "Pruning is important," David said. "Twigs and branches will mark fruit." While mulch is important, these farmers have found smother grass over the root zone is detrimental to the cheap ray ban aviator sunglasses trees, turning their leaves yellow as grass appears to compete for nutrients. An important aspect ray ban cats of the custard apple industry is the willingness between growers to share information. "We are totally open and research gets out to the growers," David said. And the close connection between members of the local marketing group has provided a basis for making new links in their adopted country. "A lot of people who have been forced out of Zimbabwe are not happy here," David said. "They miss their friends.
But we have been lucky. Sarah joined the local tennis club, and we have made good friends in our church and with other custard apple growers. That has made all the difference.
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