If you ask Merrigum fruitgrower Angelo Sciacca what he has in common with famous Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, he is quick to respond.
Modigliani, fondly known as Modi, was a painter in the early twentieth century who favoured intense red earth colours.
On the other hand, 29-year-old Mr Sciacca, grows an apple named in the artist’s honour; the deeply intense hue of its skin a nod to his colour palette.
Modi the apple, is satisfying a niche market with its brilliant red outside and pure white flesh joining a growing list of innovative fresh products emerging from the Goulburn Valley.
The new breed of apple is easy to grow and appealing to the consumer with resistance to pathogens that impact other varieties of apples.
Third-generation grower, Mr Sciacca said when he was invited to join a small group of local growers planting Modi, originally bred by the University of Bologna, the opportunity was too good to miss.
He now has 5ha of young trees producing 200 tonnes of Modi apples per year on his family orchard and says it is this sort of vision that keeps him motivated.
“Modi is a crispy-firm apple which is high in sugar making it a perfect snack,” Mr Sciacca said.
“They prefer higher temperatures and so the Goulburn Valley is very suitable for them.”
But innovative business choices and expansion are made more of a reality for Mr Sciacca thanks to secure access to irrigation water which underpins his farming operation.
“The Goulburn Valley region has strong water accessibility, which other regions lack,” he said.
“We are very fortunate to have irrigation systems in place to combat extreme temperatures.
“Our modern delivery system along with the on-farm automation system, maximises water-use efficiency placing us ahead of the game on a global scale.”
GMW Managing Director Charmaine Quick said irrigators like Mr Sciacca and his family are prime examples of why the delivery system must be run as a lean and efficient business.
“The irrigation system needs to be affordable to ensure the future prosperity of our business, our customers and our communities,” Ms Quick said.
“Our agile business is meeting all the modern-day challenges our customers are facing to ensure we are contributing to regional development. And we are delivering reliable supply, credible business, fair pricing, efficient operations, responsive services, sustainable management and simple systems”
Mr Sciacca likens Modi to the apple eaten by Snow White in Disney’s famous movie saying there are not many truly red apples on the market which makes it appealing to consumers driven by aesthetics.
Modi harvest began last week (2.3.20) with most of the apples supplied straight to market.