Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Maria Cracks Granite Belt; A New Chum to Farming, She Teams Up with Hubby Lui to Conquer Obstacles

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Maria Cracks Granite Belt; A New Chum to Farming, She Teams Up with Hubby Lui to Conquer Obstacles

Article excerpt

Linden Morris

REPORTER

DARING to enter the farming industry is a tough step for any woman but with the support of her loving husband and family one Granite Belt woman did just that.

With no previous farming experience, Maria Ponzo took to the land almost 30 years ago and has been there ever since, farming apricots, nectarines, peaches and table grapes.

C[pounds sterling]At first it was a huge step but I got used to it,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]It really didn't take me too long to get used to, but I suppose it took a couple of years with Lui's help and I have really enjoyed it over the years though,'' Mrs Ponzo said.

Watching their Glen Aplin stone fruit property go in leaps and bounds she admits it was a team effort.

C[pounds sterling]Lui would always be out in the field while I would run the packing shed,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]We are on 80 acres and 50 of it was farming at our peak.

C[pounds sterling]We would start at 4am and work until dark seven days a week.C[yen]

With several stone fruits on the go over the years, Mrs Ponzo said apricots were always their most successful.

C[pounds sterling]They are a specialised stone fruit and we were lucky we had the right aspects on our property for growing them,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]We were never able to grow them down near the house but could in the corner near the hill.

C[pounds sterling]Apricots were really good money back when we started because they were a niche market.C[yen]

With a farming background of his own, Lui Ponzo knew the importance of Maria's involvement.

C[pounds sterling]I believe it is hard for a young fellow to make it in farming without the support and help of his wife,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]That's why we don't see many young farmers these days. …

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