IT’S proving a cracker of a cherry harvest at Orange with growers reporting the best result in years with quality excellent and quantity surpassing expectations.
It follows a tough three seasons wrecked by hail and rain at harvest and in some cases, frosts during flowering and fruit setting stages.
On the Canobolas Road at Orange, the West family has been frantically packing cherries for export to Hong Kong.
NSW Farmers Orange horticulturalists branch chairman Peter West said quality was excellent although selling the fruit had been a bit harder this season.
“The market is a bit sluggish; the supply is up and the best for a few years, but people don’t seem to be spending.”
Westcastle Partnership operated by Mr West and his brother, Tim, on three properties in the Canobolas Road and Nashdale districts, should pack some 15,000 (5kg) cases this season.
“Because of hail and rain damage last year we were lucky to pack 1000 cases, and less than 800 the year before,” he said.
Ten hectares at “Balmoral”, Mt Canobolas, has 6500 trees of 15 varieties and harvest runs from the last week of November through to the second week of January.
Some 40,500 apple trees of seven varieties are grown on 50ha at the other orchards.