After going without Tasmanian cherries for the last 10 months, the wait is finally over – Tasmanian cherries started arriving in store from today, 7 December, 2023. Peter Cornish, CEO of Fruit Growers of Tasmania, “I was delighted to join Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jo Palmer, and leading Tasmanian cherry grower Nic Hansen from Cherries Tasmania today as Nic’s first cherries of the season went on display at Hill Street, West Hobart.”
“Across Tasmania we have had warm long sunny days which are great growing conditions for our cherries in all regions of the state. We are over a week earlier than last year and the great weather means our cherries stay on the tree longer, and will be bigger, darker and
sweeter this year! Even better the quantity could be as much as 25% higher,” Cornish said.
While cherries from Cherries Tasmania are the first to hit the shelves in the south, they will be followed next week by Spreyton Fresh in the north west and Somercotes in the midlands.
“The Spreyton Fresh cherries are looking magnificent! Both Spreyton Fresh and Somercotes also sell fresh cherries from their farm gate and are in our Tasmanian Seasonal Produce Guide,” Cornish said.
Most growers will start harvesting at the start of the New Year with January being our biggest production month. But we will continue harvesting through most of February as well”, Peter said.
While exports will really ramp up in January, Reid Fruits has already started exporting their specialty Japanese cherries from blocks in the Derwent Valley.
“Last year 70% of Australia’s cherry exports were Tasmanian Grown. Tasmanian cherries are regarding as amongst the best in the world. Our temperate climate, isolation from many pests and disease, clean water and long summer days creates a taste experience like few other places in the world. International customers literally can’t wait to get their hands on them! And best of all, Tasmanians get access to them first," states Cornish.
While there is still a long way to go in the season with the harvest only just beginning, many growers have invested in bird and hail netting and rain covers to protect their crops. This provides greater security for high quality production as well as the thousands of jobs the industry offers.
“This season Tasmania’s fruit industry will employ some 10,000 people and produce around $400 million worth of fruit. Our raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are already well underway with blueberries set for a special season launch in January. “I would encourage Tasmanians to get out and enjoy some early season cherries. It’s early, but this season looks like being a ripper!” Cornish concluded.