Pear variety is a tasty addition for Ardmona

By Rodney Woods on September 19, 2017
  • Pear variety is a tasty addition for Ardmona

    On the way...The European pear Honey Belle will be grown in Australia for the first time.

  • Pear variety is a tasty addition for Ardmona

    Sweet as...Ardmona's Rocky Varapodio says a new pear variety will be a perfect fit for the Goulburn Valley and his business.

A new pear variety will hit Coles supermarket shelves and be grown in Australia for the first time, thanks to an Ardmona fruit grower.

But consumers will have to wait until 2021 for a taste.

Oakmoor Orchards owner Rocky Varapodio will pull out 13ha of old trees on his Ardmona property and replace them with Honey Belle trees.

The European pear variety is owned by Freshmax Australia, which will also be the Australian marketer.

Mr Varapodio first saw the pear on a business trip to New Zealand and described the fruit as a ‘‘fresh eating pear’’.

‘‘The pears originated in Europe but are grown extensively in New Zealand,’’ he said.

‘‘I first came across the variety four years ago and when I’d eaten it, I thought ‘we’ve got to get this into Australia and get Australian consumers to enjoy it’.

‘‘It’s sweet, has a very nice crunch and it’s a pear to pick up and eat immediately instead of leaving for a few days to ripen like other varieties.’’

Oakmoor Orchards is currently putting in the infrastructure before growing begins in the winter of 2018, a date that was brought forward thanks to a $500000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund.

‘‘With the help of the Nurture Fund, we can fast track the planting and grow the variety using world’s best practice with high density planting, trellising and crop protection netting within 12 months rather than four years because of the investment required,’’ Mr Varapodio said.

He said the Goulburn Valley was the best place to grow the Honey Belle and he believed there was going to be a market for it.

‘‘We’re in the best pear-growing region in Australia so when I saw this pear I felt it was very well suited to this region.

‘‘We are existing pear growers so it’s a great fit for our business.

‘‘I think (due to) the flavour and how well the pear eats, Australian consumers will enjoy it.’’

Oakmoor Orchards expects to grow 23000 trees and 750tonnes of the new fruit annually from 2021 when the first harvest occurs.

By Rodney Woods on September 19, 2017

Dummy text