Californian peaches, nectarines take off in Australia
Australians just can't get enough Californian peaches and nectarines now that the fruits have approved for access, according to Produce Marketing Australia chief executive John Baker.
Baker told www.freshfruitportal.com the fruit had been arriving for just over two weeks, receiving strong feedback at a launch event at the Sydney Wholesale Markets earlier this week and a low-key awareness-building event this morning in Melbourne.
"The response to Californian peaches and nectarines from both the trade and consumers has been positive for everyone," said Baker, who represents California Stonefruit in Australia.
"Just in the Melbourne markets today and in Sydney, we’ve seen that demand is greater than supply, so even though the Australian dollar is higher it’s still a viable solution."
He said there were still "big learnings" to be made as to which stonefruit varieties would prove the most successful in the Australian market, with yellow-fleshed peaches and nectarines and white-fleshed nectarines available until mid-October.
"It's not so much about looking at one specific variety but how they travel to Australia, and the exporters and importers have a good idea about which ones will work."
He said the deal had been in the making for about five years, and would have been sealed two years ago if it weren't for setbacks due to spotted wing Drosophila concerns.
The United States Ambassador to Australia, Dr. Jeffrey Bleich, said it had been hard to find sufficient space to keep up with demand, as the fruit coming in since late July had been air-freight fresh.
"Starting this week there will be more varieties of sweet tangy fruits here that you ordinarily couldn't get in winter. The first shipment of California peaches and nectarines began arriving in Australia a few weeks ago, and I had a chance to buy and taste some earlier this week at the Sydney Wholesale Markets," Bleich said.
"They were just as juicy and delicious as I remembered. Many people have worked hard to get these exceptional stone fruits Down Under – including Australian importers, wholesalers, and retailers.
"Just as my family and I love Aussie peaches, nectarines, and other fruits in their season, we hope you'll try these nectarines and peaches for yourselves. They’re irresistible."
Bleich said the market could reach AUD$50 million (US$45.88 million) in the next five years, especially if plums were given access.