Posted by Karin Soster on Jan 24, 2024
Our illustrious and incoming President Elect, Tim Lynch, was our chairperson for today’s club meeting at Cilantro – our first breakfast back at Cilantro, and aren’t we lucky to have such a wonderful venue for our club meetings.  Faye performed invocation and Rotary toast with some lovely words.  Apologies were received from Linda O’Brien, Helen Parker, Kellie Carruthers, and Tony Ryan.  Ron arranged a 50th Birthday Celebration Cake to commemorate our club’s 50th Rotary Anniversary.  Thank you Ron and a lovely gesture.  
Birthdays are being celebrated this month by Kellie, Sam(antha) and Julie  -  Happy Birthday ladies.
INDUCTION – President Ron
Ron had the very pleasant duty of inducting Brent Govan to our club, with some wonderful words about Rotary and opportunities that will present themselves to Brent over the course of time in Rotary.  Brent is the principal at Holmesglen Tafe, Moorabbin, with the classification of Education, and is the first member to be inducted into our club as a Corporate Member.  Brent provided a brief overview of some of the courses at Holmesglen including those that fall outside the boundaries of mainstream education – a wonderful initiative to provide inclusivity for the benefit of everyone.  Brent looks forward to his participation in the club.
GUEST SPEAKER – Geoff Gledhill
It was a pleasure to catch up with Geoff again and who we don’t get to see a lot of these days whilst he is busy managing his family’s Cherry orchard on the Mornington Peninsula.   Geoff touched on the history of cherries as a cultivated fruit and the challenges for running a cherry orchard.  Cherries are understood to have originated in Western Asia before being brought to Europe, with the Greeks being the first to cultivate them followed by the Romans.  Europe, the USA and Turkey are now the biggest producers and consumers of cherries, with Australia being the 10th largest and producing 22,000 tons annually and growing.    The USA cherry market is 15 times that of Australia.   Cherries first came to Australia when an immigrant from Ukraine planted cherry trees in Young, NSW in 1847 having come from Europe where cherries were a popular fruit.   Now cherries are grown all over Australia, with a cherry industry in each state.  The Yarra Valley, Goulburn Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Bendigo are the main growing areas in Victoria.   There are approximately 500 growers of cherries in Australia today and there is an increasing demand for quality cherries which are air freighted around the world –in particular to Singapore.  The overseas market demands quality and service.     Cherries have a very short season, and are subject to local growing conditions.  This year’s crop has been badly affected by weather, where high humidity and rainfall has impacted heavily on what was  promising to be a good season.  Humidity causes brown rot, and rain splits cherries.  This year’s long range weather forecasts for a long, hot and dry summer have not been accurate.  Tasmania has lost 70% of its crop due to poor weather, and growers in Victoria have been impacted similarly including Geoff’s orchard which is located in Main Ridge and positioned on the highest point of the Peninsula.   Other challenges include managing birds and animals, some of which can be controlled by netting.  Geoff finished with answering questions – there are approximately 40 varieties of cherries grown commercially in Australia though his orchard has one variety – Lapins which is  a later season variety.  This year has been a learning year - however, Geoff and Angela enjoy their time working on the orchard.    Thank you Geoff for your very interesting talk and appreciated by everyone. 
ROSTERS – were announced
MEETING CLOSE – President Ron closed the meeting, and wished everyone a Happy Australia Day for Friday 26/1.