The Tasmanian cherry harvest is in full swing and at Hansen Orchards it has been a very busy last couple of weeks.
"Yields have been really good," said owner Howard Hansen. "The size and quality of the cherries is exceptional and with just ten days until Chinese New Year demand is very good. We are picking as fast as we can. Our new packhouse is doing 12 tonnes an hour and will ramp up a bit further in the next few days. This means 50% more through-put than our old shed and we are not even at capacity yet."
Despite the problems with logistics at the moment Howard said they have an outstanding relationship with their freight forwarder who have done an amazing job and been able to load every single container on a plane on the exact day we have needed to ship it.
"Cathay Pacific have temporarily cancelled all services to Australia, which meant the loss of the nightly CX104 service from Melbourne to Hong Kong. If there is not space from Melbourne we have been able to ship out of Sydney, we have been very fortunate."
Labour has been difficult but not a major issue for Hansen, there are many fewer international back packers in Australia on a working holiday visa. We continue to attract a lot of local Tasmanians particularly from the local Bhutanese community and this season we are involved in the seasonal worker program for the first time with 30 people from Samoa and 100 people from Vanuatu.
“Our season timing has been great for Chinese New Year and we are on track to be 70% of the way through our volume before the CNY holidays”
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