If you thought mango, avocado, banana, white sapote and guava only grew in the sub-tropical regions of the planet, you’d be wrong. If you thought you’d never see another white-fleshed peach again, you’d be wrong. And you’d also be wrong if you thought the apple of your youth, the good old ‘Jonathan’, had disappeared.
The Rare Fruit Society of South Australia is a thriving society full of avid members with one goal; to preserve old and rare fruit varieties. And they’re succeeding.
David Kerber is the president of the Rare Fruit Society and a self-professed ‘non-expert’ with a monumental passion for old and rare fruit varieties. Secretly though, we at Neutrog know that he has over 100 varieties of carefully selected and nurtured fruiting trees in his own backyard in the Adelaide Hills.
So, why aren’t these fruits (and more) commonly grown in the southern regions of Australia? According to David, it’s simply because people don’t even give it a try; they think these fruits are only subtropical.
He said that these plants need protection from frosts, and should be north facing to garner as much sunshine as possible. But if there is one message here, it is ‘give it a try’.
Giving it a jolly good try is the Rare Fruit Arboretum in Kanmantoo, South Australia; a joint venture between the Rare Fruit Society and Neutrog that has been literally growing for over a year. With more than 500 varieties of rare fruits, this extensive project is testament to the priorities of research and conservation. David said that it’s a more stable situation and environment, lending itself perfectly to preservation of older fruit varieties of peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, almonds, figs, apples, pears, loquats, medlars and quinces.
Neutrog’s Gyganic for Fruit and Citrus is used on the Arboretum and is David’s choice of fertiliser for his family’s fruit trees too. Gyganic’s unique organic base of manure, humates and rock phosphate have been composted and blended with the biologically active GOGO Juice. This produces a very nutritious organic base product high in organic carbon and is recommended by the Rare Fruit Society.
‘I like to give my fruit trees three or four smaller applications of Gyganic each year. Different experts will tell you different stories. Just give it a go yourself until you find out what works,’ said David.
Every July, the Rare Fruit Society of SA make scion wood and rootstock available for purchase, driving preservation, not profit. This availability and awareness is just another way the Society protects the older fruit varieties. Visit their website to find out more about the Rare Fruit Society.