This summer, the Australian stone fruit industry is painting a positive portrait of its fortunes both at home and overseas. Drought conditions have led to more smaller size fruit than previous years but according to Summerfruit Australia chair and stone fruit grower, Andrew Finlay, the crop will be sweeter than ever. “All major growing regions are in the middle of a severe drought. Water is extremely hard to come by and is very expensive. While this does mean that there is more smaller fruit than usual early in the season, it's made for amazing eating as the sugars are more intense.”
The industry predicted a crop of more than 100,000 tonnes, which will be similar to last year.
Abroad, the Australian stone fruit was in high demand in the lead up to Chinese New Year on January 25. Spurred by a targeted campaign being delivered with growers through the Hort InnovationTaste Australia initiative, product launches saw consumers lining up to get a taste of Australian produce. Hort Innovation reported numerous success stone fruit stories within Asian nations.
In Thailand, a Bangkok Tesco store showcased the produce with a wall of stone fruit and red lanterns to mark the lead up to Chinese New Year. Tesco produce category manager, Lapa Leelarpeerapan, said many customers were seeking premium Australian stone fruit .