The Blueberry IDO – Melinda Simpson – is based in the heart of Blueberry country in mid-north NSW at Alstonville
In 1848, Pearson Simpson rowed up the Richmond river at Ballina in search of cedar wood. He ventured up a small stream that he subsequently named Duck Creek and became the first white settler at Uralba. Seven generations on and Melinda – a direct descendant of Pearson Simpson – is living and working where her ancestors have been for 170 years! The family have farmed bananas in Uralba for generations and are still actively growing, ripening and selling bananas today.
Melinda went away to Brisbane for university, spending time at both Queensland University of Technology as an undergrad and the University of Queensland where she completed a Masters of Agricultural Science majoring in Horticulture. She returned to Alstonville (formerly named Duck Creek Mountain by Pearson) and joined the Department of Primary Industries where she is now the Industry Development Officer for Blueberries with a tremendous passion for horticulture.
In fact, she loves it so much that her main hobby outside of her day job is actually as a grower herself. Melinda took a cutting from a family members’ red flesh dragon fruit a few years back and from that tiny start she has propagated an orchard of 72 dragon fruit plants.
“The team structure of this new project is going to provide a great mechanism for me to offer support to more blueberry growers outside of the Coffs Harbour area as we will have highly skilled team members on the ground across the country – it’s going to be brilliant to be able to help more people grow better blueberries”