Eight participants from Currajong Disability Services (CDS) as well as board members, staff and volunteers donated their time and effort to plant 500 Jujube Fruit trees at the Akuna Road property just outside of Parkes.
Jujube are considered by many to be similar in taste and texture to dates.
For CDS Chair Neil Unger, there is still some work to be done but the effort of all concerned was incredible.
“We had a strong, dedicated group who dug, watered and planted throughout the day,” he said.
“I was extremely impressed with the effort and the time donated by everyone.
“Hopefully now once the frost goes we get a bit of rain and we can start seeing the results of our labour,” Neil said.
Neil is optimistic about the future of the Jujube Farm for consumers and CDS.
Neil, with the help of his son John, Geoff Rawson, CDS board members Greg Duffy, Ray Nielsen, Peter Barber, the Currajong Autism Support Group and numerous local volunteers have ripped, planted, irrigated and treated soil at Akuna Road, Parkes over the last 12 months.
Despite challenges from pests such as hares, everything is on course for a good haul that will help, in part, meet the demands of the burgeoning Asian market but also, potentially, create employment for CDS clients and an additional income stream.
“The Jujube business is popular, with fruit fetching up to $15/kg fresh,” Neil said.
“It is another potential arm to the CDS business model that now includes paper shredding, Carob Trees and much more.
“We are continuing to go from strength to strength.”
The Jujube need grafting and cannot just be grown.
They are tolerant of salt, cold and heat being able to withstand temps as low as -50 degrees Celsius through to +50 degrees Celsius.
They are extremely resilient and can be profitable.
“We are hoping to expand but as you know these things take time,” Neil said.
“Once this is up and running we hope and anticipate it may provide more opportunities and employment.
“Again, thanks to everyone for their time, effort and support.”