Last Wednesday, growers, biosecurity scientists and politicians converged on a Turners Beach farm to celebrate the return of Tasmania’s coveted ‘fruit fly free’ epithet. The Berry Patch was the scene of much excitement as the industry figures fronted media to confirm they were returning to business as usual.
Berry Patch owner Craig Morris said that his business delivered to Ulverstone its first consignment of fruit since fruit fly was detected.
“We’ve lost a lot of market out of this and now we’ve got to try and work to get it back,” he told The Advocate.
Morris said the wholesale side of his business had been shut down since fruit fly was detected: “We’re very lucky that we’re very diversified in that we’ve got a farm shop and cafe and that’s kept the lights on. We’ve been able to increase that up to cover the gap, it hasn’t entirely covered the gap but it has made us a viable business.”
At the time fruit fly was first detected in Tasmania the State Government said that no grower would be worse off financially.
Mr Morris said it was disappointing that promise had not been kept, but it was unrealistic to expect such a devastating outbreak would not be damaging.
Tasmanian Farmers and Grazers Association board member Michael Baldock said the potential damage to the state’s reputation as a renowned food growing capital was “scary”.