A street parader is dressed in Santa costume during celebrations of the 70th National Cherry Festival in the town of Young near Canberra, capital of Australia, Dec. 7, 2019. Less than two hours' drive from Australia's capital Canberra, Young is dubbed the "Cherry Capital of Australia," where the annual output of cherries could reach 4,000 tonnes. On this weekend, the town just celebrated its 70th National Cherry Festival, with a variety of activities ranging from cherry pie eating, cherry pip spitting to cherry street parade. (Xinhua/Chu Chen)
YOUNG, Australia, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Young is normally a quiet Australian town with only about seven thousand people, yet the packing shed of the Batinich Cherrymore Orchard becomes extremely busy here in December.
On Saturday, dozens of workers were putting the cooled big red cherries into boxes, which, if everything goes smoothly, would appear in markets of some Chinese cities within 24 hours.
Less than two hours' drive from Australia's capital Canberra, Young is dubbed the "Cherry Capital of Australia," where the annual output of cherries could reach 4,000 tonnes.
The Batinich Cherrymore Orchard is the largest among all the orchards in Young, producing about 1,000 tonnes of cherries annually.
"The Batinich family has been growing cherries for five generations," said Matthew Batinich with the Batinich Cherrymore Orchard. "It has been a pleasure in the last two years we were sending fruit to China."
History of the cherry-growing industry in Young could be dated back to the 1860s or 1870s, when families from the former Yugoslavia moved to the town.
The Batinich family migrated to Australia in the 1890s. "(The family) then worked on various horticulture with grapes and cherries and plums as well, and then progressed into having their own orchards," said the 24-year-old man.
Young is an ideal place for growing cherries. "We fit in with beautiful timing, good climate. We have great red soil, nice warm days, cool nights," Batinich said.
The orchard grew over the past century into one covering 800 hectares of land now, and the Batinich family is looking for bigger markets for their cherries.
Many people in Young know the strong connection of the town with China, where Chinese migrants worked in local mines in the mid-1860s.
As China develops quickly in recent decades, people are pursuing a healthier lifestyle, consuming higher-quality products.
"In China, we believe the demand for Australian cherries is quite high, because they love the firm, sweet, juicy cherries," Batinich said. Last year they delivered about a quarter of their cherries to China.
Batinich Cherrymore is not the only orchard selling cherries to China. According to Brian Ingram, mayor of Hilltops which administrates Young, all local orchards sell their cherries quite well in China.
"Once the cherries from Australia hit the market over there, they become very popular," he told Xinhua.
"It is a great opportunity to export cherries to China," he said. "You can pick the cherries here, within 24 hours they could be on the markets in China ... There will be also a great boost for our local economy."
In fact, the economy of Young relies greatly on its cherry industry.
On this weekend, the town just celebrated its 70th National Cherry Festival, with a variety of activities ranging from cherry pie eating, cherry pip spitting to cherry street parade.
According to Ingram, they received 12,000 to 14,000 visitors to the event.
Many orchards greeted the tourists with "pick your own" experience, Batinich, wearing a shirt with cherry logo, also helped with the packing, which was something he had loved doing since childhood.
"When I was young, I got off the school bus at the end of the day, came in and helped out in the packing shed, on the lines checking the fruit, doing a little bit of everything," he said. "It truly is a great privilege to be part of the family business."
He now has two wishes, with one of them being that his children could be the sixth generation for the orchard.
Talking about the other wish, he said: "we hope to export more cherries to China and make sure that we have great eating quality cherries for the Chinese community."