Cherry Growers Australia president Andrew Smith said last week all signs were pointing towards a bumper harvest of around 13, 000 tonnes of fruit.CATHY WALKER November 28, 2012 12:10pm
He said excellent winter weather and good soil conditions had helped deliver promising early fruit development, giving growers the expectation of a strong flowering followed by a full crop.
Cherry Week was celebrated in Melbourne with a mouth-watering array of dishes in a cherry breakfast and the judging by several prominent restaurateurs and foodies of cherries submitted by various growers, with the blue sash going to Wandin Farms.
Fruit Growers Victoria general manager John Wilson said cherry picking had begun in the Goulburn Valley and to the east, including at Wangaratta.
Mr Wilson said the crop generally looked good across the state, in terms of crop size and fruit size.
He said it was particularly welcome after two years of rain-damage to crops.
Jamie Craig’s company Bunbartha Fruit Packers packs kiwifruit, cherries, plums, apricots and pears.
‘‘Cherries at this stage look good,’’ Mr Craig said.
‘‘Cherries are difficult to estimate, but it looks like it could be a better than average crop.’’
Cherry Growers Australia chief executive Simon Boughey said 80 per cent of the crop was eaten by local consumers and the remaining fifth was exported.
‘‘Thanks to great demand, our industry is on a growth curve — but to sustain increased production and help support regional economies through jobs and investment, we need local consumers to continue to embrace the Aussie cherry season,’’ he said.
Key growing regions outside the Goulburn Valley include the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley; Young, Orange and Bathurst in NSW, the Adelaide Hills and the Riverland area of South Australia, the Huon Valley and Derwent Valley in Tasmania, and the elevated south-west region of Western Australia.
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