Home' TAS Country : January 30, 2015 Contents 14 TASMANIAN COUNTRY, Friday, January 30, 2015
TSCE01Z01MA - V1
CHERRIES from the Cygnet
foreshore are creating an
Australian first as they are being
sold directly to Chinese customers
Medium-sized cherry and apple
producer Glenburn Orchards is hitting
the biggest market in the world by
selling cherries on China’s largest
online shopping platform.
The Alibaba platform TMall records
150 million hits and transfers billions of
dollars worth of sales every day.
The move has given a whole range of
new customers a taste for premium
cherries from a family that has been
growing fruit in the Cygnet district for
more than a century.
The web profile includes a video clip
of the orchard and the family in action.
The business sold 5000kg of cherries
in three days after joining the TMall
During this year’s peak period,
Glenburn Orchards has doubled its
number of cherry pickers with 140
workers gathering fruit from three
orchards around Cygnet. Glenburn
grows six varieties of cherries for the
domestic market and export.
Another 80 workers have been kept
busy packing in the original apple shed
built in 1917.
Glenburn owner-manager Maree
Harvey and her sons James, 26, and
Adam, 24, who are sixth generation
farmers, are excited about the
opportunities the new selling platform
Mrs Harvey is a trained midwife,
who took leave from her job at the
Royal Hobart Hospital to steer the
family business through turbulent times
when her husband Richard died about
15 months ago.
She said the business had incredible
support from its staff and the
“It has been a team approach that
has created this amazing opportunity,”
Mrs Harvey said.
“We are excited and humbled to be
using this new selling platform. We had
to adapt and have been on a huge
learning curve to meet consumer
“We care and nurture the fragile
cherries right through the whole
process to get the best results.”
The online concept, which was the
brainchild of business development
manager Chris Chen, ensures the
cherries are flown to Shanghai,
Guangzhou and Beijing before they are
distributed to the consumer — all
within 72 hours.
Mr Chen manages the entire process
from orchard to the customer’s door.
“Opportunity is unlimited and since
the Chinese President’s visit people are
curious about Tasmania, they love the
history and the environment,” Mr Chen
Glenburn Orchards cherries have
struck a chord after they have been
featured on the website’s front page,
accompanied with video footage of the
family, the packing shed and the
“Feedback from customers is really
positive, this opens the door for
Tasmania,” Mr Chen said.
He is aiming for a one per cent strike
rate from buyers on the TMall site.
Some Chinese consumers are also
pleasantly surprised to open their
cherry coolers and find a toy
Tasmanian devil inside.
Next month four tickets to Tasmania
will be drawn in China as part of the
Glenburn Orchards’ cherry promotion.
Last November Fruit Growers
Tasmania visited the headquarters of
the Alibaba Group in Hangzhou and
briefed the marketing team on
Tasmania and the state’s fruit sector in
support of Glenburn Orchards’
FGT business development manager
Phil Pyke said Glenburn Orchards
venturing onto the online marketplace
was “unequal to any other company in
Australia” in managing the export of
the cherries direct from the orchard to
the consumer’s door.
The Harvey family is also looking to
push their apples into China.
Apple harvest starts early March and
the family orchard grows seven
varieties of apples, which includes three
strains of Gala.
James said the apples came on early
EXCITED AND HUMBLED: Maree Harvey with her sons Adam and James among the cherries at Glenburn Orchards.
Pictures: MATT THOMPSON
A Tasmanian cherry producer is the first in
Australia to sell its fruit directly to customers
in China, thanks to listing on an online sale
portal. Roger Hanson reports
We had to
adapt and we
have been on a
curve to meet
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