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POMEWEST profilePerfectPEARINGWe turn the spotlight onto WA pear growers Anthony and Cathy Martella.Words Nardia Stacy Photography Victoria Baker“ [The rosata] can’t be beaten for its sweetness and ready-to-eat straight from the tree attributes”– Anthony MartellaMARTELLA Orchard is a third-generation farm that has matured in size over the years to 12.45 hectares. Anthony and Cathy Martella have been growing fruit as a family business for 45 years. They started with nectarines, apples and pears, and now exclusively grow pears and peaches.The couple grow a selection of varieties – rosata, beurre bosc, packham and corella – on the property from about 11,000 trees. The growing styles are tatura trellis and palmette, with the older trees on the traditional vase system. When asked to pick a favourite, it’s the rosata pear that wins for both Anthony and Cathy.“It can’t be beaten for its sweetness and ready-to-eat straight from the tree attributes,” says Anthony. It seems many others agree, with the Martellas marketing all their bins picked at harvest.While not actively serving on committees, they are both very supportive of the direction and future of the pome industry, and their hearts remain loyal to growing quality fruit for the West Australian community.PICTURED Anthony and Cathy Martella are passionate about providing quality fruit for WA.
Anthony and Cathy know the value of fruit quality, especially for taste, and recommend the consumer understands that nature is imperfect. A flawless appearance is not necessarily the way to determine excellence in fruit. For instance, it’s always the taste and ripeness that determines a perfect pear.The pear is sometimes regarded as the forgotten fruit. However, it is actually a versatile product that’s at home on a cheese board and in savoury or sweet dishes. It’s also full of fibre and is said to have many health benefits.Anthony and Cathy market most of their fruit through the Canning Vale Markets. Both agree that the best bit about growing pears is seeing and tasting the end product. They say that there is a sense of satisfaction after all the hard work – pruning, thinning, careful picking – that makes growing worthwhile.Hopes for the future? Anthony and Cathy hope that prices/returns will soon start to match outputs, which continue to challenge the industry’s viability. Many in the industry are fearing that growing is becoming unsustainable with current market prices not reflecting the pressure of inputs, such as labour and fuel, which continue to be on the rise.Pomewest thanks Anthony and Cathy for agreeing to be part of our second round of photographic and grower story features, which we will be sharing in editions to come. Sharing local grower narratives are essential to personalise the industry to encourage continuity of unity and collaboration.