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Cherry donation a sweetener for hospital

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Sweet Cherry Valley orchard owner Michael Cusato, Donnybrook Men’s Shed member Dick Gill and orchard owner Rosetta Cusato show off this year’s 5kg cherry and jarrah box donation.
Camera IconSweet Cherry Valley orchard owner Michael Cusato, Donnybrook Men’s Shed member Dick Gill and orchard owner Rosetta Cusato show off this year’s 5kg cherry and jarrah box donation. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

The sweetest cherries from Donnybrook’s Sweet Cherry Valley orchard are ripe to again fetch tens of thousands of dollars for a good cause.

The orchard has donated 5kg of its divine cherries to the Annual Market City Charity Cherry Auction for the ninth year.

Last year, the cherries were sold for $45,000 at the auction.

The annual cherry charity event raises money for the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and has raised more than $1.1 million since 1992.

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Also involved for the past nine years, the Donnybrook Men’s Shed has again crafted the unique jarrah box which holds the cherries.

Orchard owner Michael Cusato said the donation was a tradition that had grown between his business and the men’s shed.

“We were asked from the markets to donate some fruit to the auction and we used to do a 1kg wooden box ... I just thought we’ll contact the men’s shed in Donnybrook and how about we make a 5kg box,” Mr Cusato said.

“It really went off well and they look forward to that box coming up every year now.

“It goes to the children’s hospital, so it’s for a good cause.”

Sweet Cherry Valley orchard owner Michael Cusato, Donnybrook Men’s Shed member Dick Gill and orchard owner Rosetta Cusato show off this year’s 5kg cherry and jarrah box donation.
Camera IconSweet Cherry Valley orchard owner Michael Cusato, Donnybrook Men’s Shed member Dick Gill and orchard owner Rosetta Cusato show off this year’s 5kg cherry and jarrah box donation. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

He said he never imagined the cherries would sell for as much as they did.

In 2016, the cherries fetched an impressive $55,000.

Men’s shed member Dick Gill said the group took pride in crafting the box every year.

“We all take great pride in it, everyone watches and wants to know how the auction goes,” he said.

“I’m very sure we’ll keep doing it every year.”

He said it took about 20 hours to make the box, using all the “tricks of the trade”.

The auction will be held in Perth on December 14.

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