Food & Drink

Price of cherries Australia: Grocery item about to get more expensive after storms in NSW, SA

Cherry prices are expected to rise ahead of Christmas as growers complain about their worst harvest in decades.

Storms in NSW and SA have caused havoc to crops, with some growers seeing their outputs drop by as much as 80 percent.

The heavy rainfall and winds that broke SA records last week have damaged more than half the cherry orchards located in the Adelaide Hills.

Bureau of Meteorology reports that parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges experienced four times the usual December rainfall during the seven-day event — 101mm compared to a long-term average of 25-50mm.

Tom Lucas of Cherries in Verdun estimated that between 50 and 60% of his crop was affected, with “hundreds of cherries” having split or rotted.

Channel Seven reported that Mr Lucas said, “We’ve gotten about four inches of rainfall in the past three weeks.”

Brenton Green from SA estimated that he lost an astonishing 80 percent of his crop.

He told the Adelaide Advertiser that “we’ve lost close to half-a-million dollars” in value cherries.

“I’ve been splitting berries for 36 years and this has been my worst year yet.”

Cherry Growers Australia Board member Tony Hannaford, who grows in Gumeracha (SA), also agreed, telling Channel 7 that 2023 was “probably one of the worst seasons for at least 20 years.”

The season was a great success, with production up by 12 percent compared to five years ago. Nick Noske, acting president of Cherry Growers Australia and a farmer from South Australia, praised the harvest just last month.

In November, Mr. Noske said to ABC that “it has been almost a perfect growing season up until now.”

“I’ve already seen some amazing fruit in the supermarkets.”

This optimism has changed dramatically.

SA Grower Mr Lucas stated that “[now] we could be facing $60,000 to $70,00 in lost revenue.”

He said he had spoken to orchardists who were contemplating letting fruit rot because they worried the cost of labor would exceed revenue.

Low supply due to damaged crops will likely lead to higher prices in supermarkets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *