Hot, dusty and set to bloom: The fruit tree trial underway in outback WA

Posted December 06, 2018 07:56:49

Photo: Planting grapes, project manager Dr Chris Schelfhout (left) is overseeing the project. (ABC North West WA: Sonia Feng)

A trial to grow fresh produce in the harsh and remote East Pilbara has begun, with fruit trees such as table grapes, peaches and citrus planted in the furnace-like heat of outback Western Australia.

Known as the heart of the Pilbara, iron-ore laden trains traverse the mining town of Newman’s surrounds, pumping the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.

But there are hopes a three-year trial to grow fresh produce in the outback town could signal change.

Photo: Martu elders Alistair Sammy, Jimmy Williams, Clive Samson and Colin Petersen in the orchard. (ABC North West WA: Sonia Feng)

Politicians, community leaders and traditional owners gathered at Martu Farm to welcome the start of the trial to test if the inland and elevated area of Newman would be suitable for producing high-value temperate crops.