Difficult spring weather has likely led to lower volumes of New Zealand stonefruit this season, but industry body Summerfruit NZ is opting to focus on the positives.
The industry body says pollination was “patchy” in some crops, and combined with recent wet weather this means overall crop volumes are likely to be down for the category, including apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries.
“It has been a very strange start to summer and not kind to summerfruit growers,” says Summerfruit NZ chief executive Marie Dawkins.
“But chances are the fruit will be bigger and likely to have better flavour because the trees are supporting less fruit.
“A lighter crop load is not necessarily a bad thing and may result in fantastic fruit if the weather plays its part.”
Dawkins says New Zealanders will only have a 12-week window before the fruits disappear for another year.
“It’s definitely a case of getting them while you can,” she says.
The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is encouraging people to eat more stonefruit to ensure they’re getting enough servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, while also highlighting more specific health benefits.
“Enjoying fruit while it’s in season is the best value and will also help reduce your disease risks,” says the trust’s general manager Paula Dudley.
“Apricots, for example, are a great source of dietary fibre, niacin, vitamins A, C and E, and also contain potassium. Recent studies suggest that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables may help people lead longer lives.”
The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is also encouraging New Zealanders to plant more fruit trees as a contribution towards the Government’s plan to plant one billion trees over the next 10 years, aimed at being eco-friendly while providing a future food source.