Kembla Cherry Orchard Royalla
(15 December 2016)
Martin Corby is a 4th generation orchardist who grew up on a mixed fruit orchard in Orange NSW. Martin and his wife Nina established picturesque Kembla Cherry Orchard in Royalla NSW in 2001.
Originally 3000 trees were planted on the organically run, 15 hectare property, half of which were grafted by Martin and his father. Six species of cherries are grown including Merchant, Sweetheart, Lapin, Stella, Ron and Sunburst, which cover a range of sizes, flavours, colours and fruiting times.
In a favourable growing season, each tree produces 4 to 5 cases of fruit, equating to 4 to 4.5 tonnes in total for the orchard. Martin is only expecting around 1.82 this season due to significant winds, rain, and overall cooler temperatures; all of which had a detrimental impact on bees visiting the orchard, and consequently, pollination. Fortunately, however, Hover fly numbers were high and put in a valiant effort.
The soil has been improved significantly over the years, making a fundamental difference to fertility and moisture retention. Martin said directing grass clippings between tree rows to the base of the trees has been one of the main inputs leading to these improvements.
3.5km of bird netting and in-line irrigation sprinklers are used at Kembla Cherry Orchard. Martin said the nets have no impact on pollination and also protect trees from hail damage and Pear and Cherry Slug infestation (the adult form of the pest is too large to fit through the holes in the net and lay its eggs). Nets are erected by machine each year at shuck fall. During fruiting season, trees are irrigated every second day or as required, with around 12 litres of water being applied to each tree.
Martin gives the following tips to those wanting to grown cherry trees in their backyard:
Kembla Cherry Orchard Royalla is open during harvest season, where customers can pick their own delectable cherries or purchase quality 2kg pre-packed boxes.