Visitors are picking cherries at Ballinaclash Orchard in Young, a township with its population around 10,000 and located less than two hours' drive from Australia's capital city Canberra, on Dec. 4, 2018. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)
CANBERRA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Ever since he could remember, Ned Mullany has been on the cherry orchard.
"I am the third generation of Ballinaclash," said the 28-year-old man in Young, a township with its population around 10,000 and located less than two hours' drive from Australia's capital city Canberra.
He is not alone, as Young is dubbed the "Cherry Capital of Australia", where, Ned estimates there are more than 30 cherry growing orchards.
Last weekend, Hilltops region in Young, celebrated the 69th National Cherry Festival, with a variety of activities held, including cherry pie eating, cherry pip spitting and cherry street parade.
"We had thousands of visitors to the region," Tourism and Events Manager of Hilltops Council Melanie Ford said, while National Cherry Festival Committee President Caitlin Sheehan told local media that she expected to draw a huge crowd of around 20,000 over the three days.
"It is huge economic driver for the region. The cherry industry is huge in our area and it has been here for 150 years." the manager said.
A worker is sorting and packing cherries at Ballinaclash Orchard in Young, Australia on Dec. 4, 2018. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)
Ned told Xinhua that his orchard was started by his grandfather in 1965, which now covers more than 40 hectares.
"The festival is very big for what it does to our economy. Motels and all the shops in town certainly benefit from it," Ned added.
Throughout these years, the man saw a dwindling number of cherry growers but expansion of orchards.
At his grandfather's time, they only had fresh cherries, which were all sent to the market.
"About 15 years ago, we started to go pick-on-your-own," Ned said. They also developed a variety of products with the fruit they grew, like cherry jam, cherry ice-cream, cherry pie, cherry sauce and cherry wine.
"We rely on the Cherry Festival. We advertise at the festival and a lot of people from all over the country to Young to experience the atmosphere, pick their own cherries and have a little of farm experience." Ned said.
"The cherries from different trees taste differently," a female cherry-picker said, refusing to mention her name.
"We have a variety of cherries that will ripen over six weeks. You always have ripe cherries. As one variety finishes, a new variety comes up," ned said.
Photo taken on December 4, 2018 shows a giant cherry sculpture at Ballinaclash Orchard in Young, Australia. (Xinhua/Bai Xu)
Many people in Young know its strong connection with China, where Chinese migrants worked in the mines in the mid-1860s. Young now holds the annual Lambing Flat Chinese Festival, and is also home to the Chinese Tribute Gardens to celebrate the contributions made by the Chinese for the development of the township.
"The Chinese are hardworking. We will continue to build close relationship with China," Manager Melanie said, adding that the number of Chinese people is on the rise.
Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, is Young's sister city, where a delegation is to visit Young next week.