Nuffield Australia 2015 Scholarship winner
Tom Eastlake, from Young in NSW, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Horticulture Australia Limited, as part of the across industry program with matching funds from the Australian Government. He will study cherry field handling, packing techniques and packaging materials.
With 15-thousand cherry trees in production, Tom is responsible for all orchard and farming activities on his property, which produces approximately 250 to 340 tonnes of cherries per year. Tom manages three full time staff during the year and over 100 seasonal workers at harvest.
To optimise shelf life, minimise damage and provide the best presentation of fruit, Tom will study handling techniques of cherries from tree to packhouse, handling during packing and subsequent packaging.
“Almost all research in Australia is done on variety and rootstock performance, yield, pruning techniques and chemical performance – there is no research done on fruit handling and packaging best practice.
We have varieties that can display ‘pitting’ on the skin after handling, or that are softer and may bruise or squash – however, improving handling techniques have been shown to reduce pitting, and our goal should be to improve our handling to reduce impact and compression,” he explains.
Tom will visit the USA, Canada, Chile and Italy.
Location: Young, New South Wales
Mobile: 0438 059 464
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Tom Eastlake is sponsored by: