A swimming champion and a world class chef have joined forces to promote Tasmania’s cherry industry.
Former Olympian Ian Thorpe and chef Tetsuya Wakuda will head to Tokyo next month to promote Tasmanian-grown Japanese cherries.
The pair visited a cherry orchard at Plenty, near New Norfolk in the state’s south.
Tasmania is the only place, outside Japan, to grow the cherries which sell for about $1 each.
Mr Wakuda says the quality is comparable to the local product.
“I can’t tell the difference to be honest, I have grown up with it and it is the same,” Mr Wakuda said. “In Japan it’s a gift … a very special commodity.”
Mr Thorpe says the Japanese cherries are also high in antioxidants.
“They’re a really interesting taste, they’re quite sharp, they’re crisp,” he explained.
The crop will be harvested next month and about 80 tonnes exported to Japan, where Mr Wakuda and Mr Thorpe will be part of a media campaign.
“I don’t think it’s a hard sell, Japan is a very competitive market though,” Mr Thorpe said.
Tim Reid runs an orchard at Plenty, in the state’s south, which has grown from a single cherry tree cutting to 30,000 trees.
“Tasmania is quite a unique environment, the maritime climate, the long cool summers,” he said.
80 tonnes of the fruit will be exported to Japan next month in the first commercial shipment.
The growers hope to expand the market to countries including Singapore and Malaysia.
by The Punjapit Alliance