Christmas to deliver mixed bag of produce
MANGO lovers rejoice, the Queensland favourites are about to hit the shelves at a great price just in time to decorate the Christmas pavlova.
Bundaberg fruit and vegetable wholesaler Beemart owner Neville Beeston said it had been a mixed bag for fruit growers this season, and while cherries had been hit hard, other stone fruit would be in fairly good supply during the festive period.
"Going back about three weeks ago we were headed for a glorious cherry season - the quality was good, the crops were excellent,” he said.
"But then we had those bad storms coupled with high humidity in Victoria and South Australia and the cherries were decimated.
"They've come back to about 35-40 per cent of the normal crop.
"So that being the case, cherries are going to be disappointingly dear this year.”
On the plus side, Mr Beeston said all other stone fruit - nectarines, plums apricots and peaches - hadn't been impacted and were in reasonably good supply, and reasonably priced.
And it's even better news for mango lovers.
"The good news is the Bowen mango crop is very big and there's a massive supply of mangoes,” he said.
"Even now you see mangoes coming down as low as $1 each.
"The mangos make up for the lack of cherries.”
Watermelon are also a summer staple but Mr Beetson said unfortunately massive rainfall during October, as well as storms and even hail, meant the Bundaberg watermelon crop was only about 40 per cent of an average year.
But with produce from other areas of the state about to hit the market, the price of watermelons should go down.
"It's been the worst melon season in Bundaberg for many many years,” Mr Beetson said.
"Mother nature threw all she could at the poor melon growers this year.
"But the southern areas like Gatton and Chinchilla are coming in now.
"Watermelon have been really high but are coming back in price.
"Hopefully they'll be more than affordable for Christmas.”
Local lychees have also hit the shelves and are well priced.
Most summer salad produce will also be reasonably priced, but lettuces especially will depend on the weather in Victoria - where much of the supply will come from - and as usual cabbages will hit the hip pocket, but no more than other years.
"Cabbage that people like for their coleslaw are always reasonably dear, mainly because they're a winter crop,” Mr Beetson said.
Stone fruit except cherries