Australian table grape harvest kicks off this week
The Australian table grape harvest begins in earnest this week for growers in and around the northern Australian town of Emerald, with Mundubbera and St George to follow in November and December respectively.
The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) expects the table grape season starting this week will have similar volumes to last year's fairly light crop.
In a release, ATGA chairman Richard Lomman said growers would be "rewarded" with pricing reflecting the quality and supply of the produce.
"Yields are on par with last year and last year was a light year, which was a good year for growers," Lomman said.
"Weather wise the conditions this year have been just right. We’ve had no significant frosts in our growing regions of Western Australia and Victoria. It’s true in Queensland we’ve had rain but that has been beneficial for the crop.
"The national harvest begins in Emerald with varieties such as Early Sweet, Flame Seedless and then Menindee Seedless. Similar varieties follow in the other Queensland regions and Northern Territory before growers in the southern states start picking their crops."
Early season table grapes will be destined for the domestic market, where Lomman said Australian consumers could look forward to good fruit. However, he said they could expect a rise in fruit and vegetable prices due to increases in labor costs.
"If we don’t accept there will be an increase in price, we’ll be relying on corporate farms and imports to meet consumer demand,” Loman said.
"The consumers would have recently experienced fruit from the United States, which looked and tasted good, but shelf life was poor and breakdown of the fruit spoilt the experience. They can expect our Australian fruit to last longer and it will be the perfect addition to any festive season celebrations."