Yarra Valley Cherries, located in Seville in the Upper Yarra Valley started picking last week, with the early varieties coming off the tree indicating that pollination was good and that the rain came at the right time. They are currently picking the Merchant variety, and it is a big crop this year.
Andrew Fairley, Managing Director at Yarra Valley Cherries, is looking forward to a much more positive season than last year:
“The cherry season in Victoria last year was one of the worst we have had for many years. The constant rain caused significant amounts of damage to the fruit, through splitting and cracking. So far this year, we have had rain at the right time, and a limited number of days where the rain hung around. That’s when the splitting and cracking is at its worst.”
With the really excellent weather conditions at present and forecast over the next coming weeks, Andrew is expecting good sized cherries.
“We pick anywhere from 17 – 18 brix, and the brix will increase for a couple of days after that. The size will largely depend on variety and the crop load. We would expect to pick in excess of 150 tonnes, which is small compared to the big growers in Victoria. Because we have suffered so much damage in prior years through the consistent rain problems, we are hoping that this year will compare very favourably.”
Andrew said that if all growers are enjoying the same conditions as they are throughout Victoria and New South Wales, there will be a lot of cherries in the market.
“Because Yarra Valley Cherries focuses on the premium end of the market, we believe that there will be demand for our crop this year. However, there is always the concern about the impact that cost of living is having in this country, and cherries are susceptible to being cut from the family budget as a discretionary luxury item.”
Yarra Valley Cherries grow more than 30 different varieties of cherry (with over 20,000 trees), the season runs from early November through to mid/late December.
The company also exports between 5% and 10% of its product, mainly to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Yarra Valley Cherries has also been certified as a carbon neutral cherry orchard through the Australian Government’s ‘Climate Active’ program, which is a collective initiative for climate action. It is the first cherry orchard in Australia to have gone through the extensive process of certification, realising its commitment to significantly reduce its carbon impact.
“We have made every effort possible over the last 10 years to minimise our carbon footprint, and this acknowledgement from Climate Active that we are now carbon neutral is important to us, our broader community and the cherry industry,” said Andrew.
“We have reduced our carbon emissions as much as possible, and invested in projects that reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere. Our efforts include the installation of a 15kw solar array, electric forklifts, greater use of natural fertilizers, chipping our prunings and finding alternative uses for damaged fruit.”
Via: Fresh Plaza