New South Wales fig growers have found local sales helped them at the start of the season, when the market had extra supply of fruit.
Alison and David Dinham have only owned Norland Fig Orchard since April last year, but reported that prices were down at the Flemington Markets at the beginning of the season, as there were a lot of figs coming up from Victoria.
"However David made some good contacts and was selling directly to some fruit shops," Ms Dinham said. "He also sells some figs from a service station on a regular basis. We sold fresh figs and other products at the orchard and supplied some restaurants locally in Orange. We make jams: plain fig and fig and ginger, pastes same, fig chutney, fig vinegar and dried figs."
Norland Fig Orchard is situated at Borenore, near Orange. It is right behind the Australian National Field Day site in the Central Tablelands, and Ms Dinham says they irrigate trees from a bore.
"Our farm is 37 acres," she said. "The orchard is about 6 acres. At the moment there are about 500 fig trees, however there is space for about 600 trees. Some have been pulled out and need replacing. At the moment there are a few young chestnut trees the rest are figs. We have bought a few citrus trees to plant. We are not sure how they will go in our climate. The soil is red basalt."
Norland Fig Orchard has 4 varieties of figs. Demand is high in certain areas, especially where people have a European or Mediterranean heritage, Ms Dinham says depending where people grew up seems to determine the variety they prefer.
"Brown Turkey which has 2 crops," Ms Dinham said. "It doesn't travel as well as the Black Genoa. Black Genoa is our main variety. It also has 2 crops. We have 10 rows of Black Genoa, with about 39 trees in each row. We also have 2 rows of young White Adriatic and 1 row of a Green Prolific variety. The green Prolific variety only has a 2nd crop."
Norland Fig Orchard's season runs from December to early May.
For more information
Alison and David Dinham
Norland Fig Orchard
Phone: +61 423 530 001