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Tasmanian apple season in full swing

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Thursday, 28 March 2024, 4.00pm

The Tasmanian apple harvest is now in full swing for the 2024 season. The season commenced in February, with Royal Gala and Smitten® amongst the first to be harvested and will continue through until May.

This season, Tasmanian apple growers have been fortunate to experience excellent growing conditions during spring and summer, leading to an increase in sweetness, size, and vibrance in colour.

The Tasmanian apple industry has a long, rich history and has a reputation for growing beautifully fresh crisp apples, particularly red varieties. Cool climatic conditions, clean water, and rich, well-nurtured soils enable sweet, crisp fruit to develop slowly. This means Tasmanian apples store particularly well.

Peter Cornish, CEO of Fruit Growers Tasmania, said “Generations of orchardists have been commercially growing apples across Tasmania for over 160 years, with our apples being highly regarded around the world. No wonder we were once known as the Apple Isle!

“In the late 1960s through to early 1970s, the peak time for apple exports from Tasmania, over 800 small orchards were scattered across almost every region of the state. Since then, apple orchards have consolidated to the most commercially productive growing regions, these include the central northwest, the Tamar Valley, the Derwent Valley, and the Huon Valley.”

As global apple markets have changed, Tasmanian growers have demonstrated great resilience by adapting and innovating to ensure the apple industry in Tasmania continues to advance.

In the Huon Valley, three orchards are growing unique Tasmanian apple varieties.

Scott Brothers developed ‘Tiger Fuji’, which since 2014 has been exported to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. While ‘Rubigold’, developed by BW Griggs & Sons is mostly sold locally and via the domestic market, but also exported to Singapore. And, in 2023, R&R Smith picked their first harvest of ‘Southern Bliss’, adding an organic option to Tasmania’s special varieties.

Tasmanian apples are also exported to Papua New Guinea.

A number of Tasmanian growers have also made a significant impression within the cider and agritourism industries.

“The 2023 Australian Cider Awards saw Tasmanian cider receive four trophies and seven Best in Class awards, this is a notable achievement for the industry and something worth celebrating,” said Mr Cornish.

The Tasmanian producers to receive the awards were Plenty Cider, Simple Cider, Brady’s Lookout Cider, Frank’s Cider, PRAH, and Willie Smith’s.

Mr Cornish added “Apples are great in the lunchbox, on a platter or as part of a picnic and they make a delicious snack at any time of the day. So, now’s the time to get out there and appreciate the abundance of crisp, juicy in-season apples that Tasmania has to offer.”

This season’s Tasmanian apples are available at roadside stalls, farmers markets and independent retailers including IGA, Hill Street, Salamanca Fresh as well as in the major supermarkets.

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