This year’s cherry season promises to be a bumper one with Young’s first cherries on track to be picked about Melbourne Cup Day, according to a local grower.
Scott Coupland has experienced all types of harvests during his 33 years in the industry, and predicts early varieties to be ripe in less than three weeks.
Melbourne Cup Day once again looms as the traditional guide for when some of the district’s first ripe cherries will be ready.
The great race falls on November 6 this year.
Growers expect fruit to be good quality and good size despite battling dry conditions.
“While there’s not going to be any super huge fruit, it’s going to be good sized and very, very sweet,” Mr Coupland said.
“This is a year that looks a lot like 2001 and that was a year we all did very well. It was a bit dry, it was the start of the big drought in 2002, however we had moisture in the ground.
“Fingers crossed we might get a good shower of rain between now and the start. If that happens it will really set the district up for a bumper year.”
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Cherries from the district will be sold to exporters, supermarket chains, some will go through the central market system and there’s big opportunity for domestic sales this year, Mr Coupland said.
He says good weather will likely result in a boost in tourism and the amount of people visiting orchards to “pick your own”.
“Tourism offices are really promoting the Cherry Festival. It brings a lot people to town and a lot of people visit the orchards. It’s phenomenal how many people they do manage to get to town,” Mr Coupland said.
“There’s some orchards that focus more on shed-door sales and the tourism side of things like pick your own.
“They have the potential to do very well this year particularly with beautiful days like these and if it’s like this during the Festival. A lot of people do come here, it’s really well known.”
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Mr Coupland encourages those looking for work at orchards to be patient, with the season expected to last until between Christmas and New Year.
This season’s first box of cherries will be sold at the annual fundraiser auction at Sydney Markets on November 14 with all proceeds going Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation.
Last year’s five kilogram box sold for $41,000.