Home' The Murray Pioneer : May 23rd 2017 Contents “RIVERLAND & MALLEE FARMER” - 5
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Fancy a feijoa? You wanna a yuzu?
THE Riverland is famous for being
a citrus region, but many growers
think outside the box about what
to put in their soil.
GM Arnold and Sons have
several orchards across Waikerie
and Ramco and while they are
primarily orange growers, they
have expanded to a series of
more unusual and unheard-of
fruits over the past few years,
notably yuzus and feijoas.
Yuzus are a citrus fruit, similar
looking to lemons, and are popu-
lar in Japanese cooking.
Shaun Arnold said his family
is currently the only commercial
grower of yuzus in Australia.
“I know there are some other
people working on growing them,
but the biggest problem with
them is the big, nasty thorns that
grow on the trees, he said.
“Pickers don’t like picking
them, because of the thorns, so
if anyone is going to plant these
trees, they’re normally the ones
who have to pick them.”
Yuzus are rarely eaten as a
fruit, and are instead used for
their juice and rind, much like
“It’s the thorns that mainly
drive people away from growing
the yuzus, but it’s also a niche
market,” Mr Arnold said.
“That will change eventually,
but other growers aren’t going to
be getting our trade secrets of
how we’ve got them to this stage,
because these fruits are a lot of
“Spined citrus bugs are a real
pest with the yuzu trees.
“They sting the fruit, and it
drops to the ground, and the way
to keep them out – well, that’s a
The Arnolds are currently har-
vesting the second crop from
their yuzu trees.
Mr Arnold said his 22
yuzu trees were grown from
Washington navel orange trees.
“There was a downturn in
Washingtons, about five or six
years ago,” he said.
“So we downsized all the
(Washingtons) we had, put in
mandarins and yuzus instead.
“We cut off the tree, the orange
tree, put a yuzu stick in the trunk,
then it comes up from that.
“When the stick goes in the
trunk, a plastic bag, or some
white tape, is wrapped around
the join to create moisture and
humidity, and a paper bag is put
over the top for darkness.
“Then in about three weeks it’s
off and growing properly.
“So, we didn’t have to wait for
the yuzus to grow to full before we
started getting a full crop.
“It’s a quite well-known trick
The Arnolds have been picking
feijoa trees for three years now.
Feijoas are eaten like kiwi
fruit: cut in half and the insides
Shaun Arnold said he first
got the idea when he was at a
Melbourne produce market about
five years ago.
“I was at (a market), and a
pallet came in from New Zealand
a lot of feijoas are grown in New
Zealand – and before (the feijoas)
hit the ground, the pallet was
empty,” he said.
“We were looking for something
to plant here, and we thought
we’d try the feijoas.
“There is a demand for the
fruit, supermarkets are starting to
take them in stock.
“It’s not a bad time of year (to
grow/pick); it’s just before navels
“Now the feijoas are finishing,
navels are starting, so it’s a good
“I don’t think our industry’s big
enough to export them yet, but I
suppose there’s potential there in
Mr Arnold said that feijoas,
unlike yuzus, are easy to grow
“My mum had one (feijoa tree)
in the backyard when I was a kid,”
“She used to try to get us to eat
them, and I wouldn’t give you a
cent for the things. But now, I love
them, and I can’t keep my son out
Despite being simple to grow,
and popular on the east coast of
Australia, Mr Arnold said home-
work is still being done on how to
make a profit.
“We’ve got to weigh up the cost
of a pallet to get it to where we’re
sending it, how much we’re send-
ing, how much to pick them, time,
and the returns we’re getting, to
make sure they’re viable...” he
“There’s no thorns on these
trees, but the problem is, the fruit
is very hard to see against the
leaves, so it takes longer to pick
than, say, an orange tree.
“But the fruit falls very easily.
“We use leaf rakes to pull them
out at this stage, but we’re work-
ing on getting a catching system
designed. So once that’s in, we’ll
be in business.”
Shaun Arnold holding a branch of feijoas. The fruit is similar in colour to the leaves of the tree, making it hard for
pickers to spot. INSET: A yuzu fruit tree on the Arnold family’s property. The difference in trunk colour highlight
where the orange tree stops and the yuzu starts. PHOTOS: Erin Williams
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