FRESH: Estelle Greensill testing the watermelons at Greensill Farms, Bundaberg.
FRESH: Estelle Greensill testing the watermelons at Greensill Farms, Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN241117FARM3

Juicy fruit survives Bundy's wet

LITTLE Estelle Greensill is one in a melon.

The eight-month-old had her first taste of watermelon yesterday, sitting among the vines on her dad Peter's family farm - Greensill Farming Group.

The company has begun harvesting the first of its summer crop, just in time for Christmas.

Farm manager Tony Sandwell said preparation for the juicy fruit began mid-year with ground preparation, before planting from August to September.

"This year we started planting on August 14. It was fairly consistent, even-sized planting for 10 weeks,” he said.

It was this method that saved the crop when Bundaberg was lashed by three torrential rain events in October and November.

"It coped surprisingly well with the rain. There was definitely an impact, but we still have a crop,” he said.

Harvesting began earlier this month and will continue for about 10 weeks, wrapping up in January.

FARM FRESH: Estelle Greensill testing the watermelons at Greensill Farms, Bundaberg.
FARM FRESH: Estelle Greensill testing the watermelons at Greensill Farms, Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN241117FARM2

The Greensills sell their melons to the major supermarket chains up and down the east coast, including to Adelaide, as well as produce agents across the country.

But the real thrill is the once-a-year delivery to local schools so students can celebrate their last day with a slice of the ever-popular fruit.

Tony and his wife Kim, who also works for the company, personally deliver melons to about three schools in Bundaberg, free of charge, and make sure they're sliced, ready for the children to enjoy.

While the demand is for seedless watermelons, Tony said they had to grow both varieties for the seedless to pollinate.

Farming is big business for the Greensills, who operate about 2000ha of land where they also grow sweet potatoes and cane.

The farm will continue to operate all through Christmas, but Tony said he and Kim would be having a little holiday back home in Western Australia before returning to work.



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