• Av. temp 17.7o
  • Population 6,733
  • Farms 24

Phillip Blacker

Leeton, NSW

What generation grower are you?
My grandfather established the initial citrus planting in 1942. The farm was 400 acres purchased in 1925 by my Grandparents that over the years grew Peaches and vegetables for the Leetona cannery, cereal crops and sheep and cattle production. My father actually planted the initial orchard of 16 acres which were Valencias, so that would make me a 3rd generation grower.

Were your parents or grandparents immigrants?
My grandparents came to Leeton from Bega on the south coast of NSW after my grandfather was told to move to drier climate to assist in his recovery from Tuberculosis acquired during his WW1 service.

How did you come to be a grower?
I have always been passionate about the industry and have been involved in the industry bodies such as Leeton Citrus Grower and Riverina Citrus Committee before it was disbanded. I have always tried to promote and grow our industry so that we and the next generation of growers can see a future for it. 
What makes you proud/Passionate to be an Australian grower?
Our region produces a product with minimal insecticides that has superior flavour but appearance may green or have skin texture which detracts from the ideal of the consumers’ traditional purchase. This is expected though as we often buy with our eyes and are frequently disappointed – but what the consumer needs to understand is that this means nothing about the quality. The appearance may be different to what they see for table fruits but the quality is the same. I’m proud we produce good quality oranges as close to its natural form as possible. 

People often think all fruits are created the same, but in reality, quality is hard to produce, can you tell us the hard work that goes behind the cultivation?
Australian Grown is a product that proves our region is superior as the product is all about the interior of the fruit and expresses the strong colour and flavour for the consumer without being detracted by the physical appearance of the actual orange – which is often very misleading when you compare it to table fruits! The Riverina and more especially the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area has soil types that are heavier than those of the other growing regions which gives rise to the better flavour profile and high brix that lasts longer through the growing season for a more consistent product for the consumer.

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