A New South Wales passionfruit grower says improved weather conditions have meant better quality this season.
“We’ve had wetter conditions this year so there’s been more moisture in the ground which is ideal for growing,” Warrina Park’s Dennis Chant said. “Last year, it was quite dry so the rainfall is definitely to thank for the good fruit quality this year.”
Mr Chant is also the president of Passionfruit Australia and he added that supply for winter was a bit delayed due to cooler weather conditions.
“However, we’re now seeing a large, good-quality supply of passionfruit in-stores,” Me Chant said. “Compared to last year, supply is probably a bit less, but the fruit quality is superior due to wetter weather conditions.”'
Despite passionfruit being considered a tropical fruit, Mr Chant says passionfruit is also delicious in winter desserts and baked goods, because there are a wide variety of uses for it, leading to strong demand.
“For one, passionfruit contains key nutrients and antioxidants which are great for immunity,” he said. “They are a source of Vitamin C which is important for protecting our bodies, especially in the cooler months, and they are also rich in dietary fibre for gut health. Generally speaking, we do tend to see larger supplies and more availability of the fruit in summer, but the quality in winter is often superior thanks to the weather conditions.”
But he admitted that the biggest barrier to consumption in winter is that consumers aren’t aware the fruit is available in winter.
“Many consumers believe passionfruit is only available in summer, but actually it’s available year-round, with peaks in summer and winter,” Mr Chant said. “We don’t really classify passionfruit as ‘seasonal’ because it is actually available throughout the year.”
Warrina Park, is close to Murwillumbah in northern NSW. It is down the southern end of the passionfruit production region in Australia and specialises in the purple ‘sweetheart’ variety of passionfruit.
“Our farm conditions are ideal for growing tropical and sub-tropical fruits,” Mr Chant said. “We’ve owned the farm since 2004. Aside from our 2,600 passionfruit vines we also have cattle and alpacas. The passionfruit we’ve seen this year are great quality; they are larger, have a harder shell that helps with shelf life, and are full of flavoursome pulp. With extra pulp in each fruit to enjoy, it really is a great time to buy locally grown passionfruit and support Aussie growers.”