The Tasmanian cherry harvest is still a few weeks away but so far it is looking positive. Howard Hansen from Hansen Orchards grows all of his cherry crop under cover so although the recent good weather has its advantages his crop no longer relies on it.
“We had good winter chill and the spring temperatures have been relatively kind, but due to our covered orchards we are immune to any weather events. We are seeing a good crop set on all blocks and are expecting the biggest volume of cherries ever, 20% up on last year.”
Howard targets his cherries to the top-end gift packs given at Chinese New Year, last year this fell early on 22 of January which was not ideal. This year however the timing is much better and fits perfectly into the Tasmanian cherry season.
“Chinese New Year is on 10th February which suits our production window perfectly. We expect to start picking between Christmas and New year or possibly just into the New Year. The size of the fruit will be 30-32-34mm, which we will pack into our 1 or 2kg gift boxes.”
It is not just Tasmanian cherries which focus on the Chinese New Year market, other countries such as Chile usually send huge volumes into Asia at this time.
“While Chile do send a lot into Asia, they don’t target the same customers as we do. Chile has had its challenges this year with weather issues and the shipments will not be as expected. We really feel for them as we know what its like to have a bad year.”
All around the world consumers are feeling the pinch as the cost-of-living increases, but Howard said it is hard to know if this will affect sales of high-end cherry gift boxes.
“It’s tougher overall, people are not buying new houses or cars or going on expensive holidays but we do still want to celebrate holidays like Christmas and New Year and make them special. While people are watching their budgets, we hope they will still treat themselves and others and cherries give them the chance to indulge.”
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