The Queen Garnet plum harvest is just about to start in Australia, this is a tree-ripened variety and all growing regions start within 10 days of each other.
"We have Queen Garnet growing in all the major states of Australia. Victoria and Queensland have the highest number of trees and there are trees planted in NSW; South Australia and Western Australia," said Alistair Brown from Harrowsmiths International who have been licenced to market fresh Queen Garnet throughout the world since 2014.
The Queen Garnet plum claims to be 'The queen of antioxidants' with a 150ml serving containing antioxidants equivalent to 6 cups of tea and 13 servings of orange juice.
Rough indications have the crop between 1000-1200 tonnes this season, however strict quality standards underpin the premium position Queen Garnet takes in the marketplace.
"Volumes have been slowly increasing over the years, but production out of Queensland has been affected by drought. Strategic plantings around Australia provide for the unpredictability of mother nature. However the good news is that two thirds of the crop have been planted in the past 3 to 5 years, so volumes will continue to climb."
The main export markets for the Queen Garnet have been China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and Indonesia is beginning to develop.
"Other markets are being targeted as production increases and each one takes time to educate about this unique variety. The Queen Garnet is a tree-ripened fruit at harvest and is unlike other plums. It has great shelf life and ships well for export markets. Harrowsmiths is excited about working with our customers in all of the export markets and assisting the continued education about its unique health attributes."
Alistair said the The International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) from the Federal Government has been a winner. "The challenges around sea freight remain, with vessels omitting ports and schedules being disrupted and air freight is a daily challenge with supply and demand pressures impacting on costs and arrival timing. What can I say, I love the challenge!"
For many Australia producers labour has been a challenge due to Covid and international travel restrictions. "This will continue for a while so we just have to keep pushing on behalf of the growers who themselves are under incredible pressure. This doesn’t help the tree or vine crops which are already set up for a certain labour requirement. So everyone is doing their best to make sure the crops are coming off and the product is the best possible quality.
"The most recent wave of Covid cases adds another level of challenge to all operations. It's testament to the Australian character despite one of the greatest challenges in our life time growers and all stakeholders press on and put their shoulder to the wheel. We remain hopeful that the crop will find a home and our business plans, whilst being tested, will succeed in giving consumers a delicious, healthy experience and growers will receive the reward for their tenacity."
For more information:
Tel: +61 7 3892 5703