Why your Christmas cherries will be expensive, scarce, and huge and tasty


This Christmas, cherries will be harder to find and cost more, but growers say they will be bigger and tastier than ever. This summer, Australia's cherry business will be hurt because too much rain in the spring cut national crops in half.

Coles later said in a "apology" notice this week that the 300-gram packs of cherries they had promoted would be in "limited supply" because of the shortage. But Tom Eastlake, head of Cherry Growers Australia, says that rumors that people would not buy the red stone fruit this year were "blown out of proportion, big time."

If people are willing to pay a little more, he said, no one will go without. "Don't get me wrong, a national crop 50 per cent is bad, and there are going to be significantly less cherries around," he stated.

"But all this talk that cherries will cost five times as much is way over the top." People called me today to ask if cherries would sell for $50 a kilo by Christmas. I asked, "Where are you getting that information?"

This year, growers had hoped that Australia would make up to 18,000 tonnes of the red fruit. However, Mr. Eastlake said that "the industry will be dancing" if only 10,000 tonnes were made.

Cherries, like most stone fruits, need bees to spread their pollen. With bees' help, one cherry tree needs another to multiply. But this year, Australia had too much rain in all areas of production, which stopped many trees from pollinating.

Yes, they're costly, but 30 millimetre cherries cost this much any year. It's only that this year there are no cheaper 22-millimetre cherries. So whether people will pay for greater quality In his 43 years as Haberfield's Frank's Fruit Shop owner, Frank Bonfante has seen "stacks of cherries everywhere" but this year there are "just a handful here and there".

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