Summer fruit shortage fears put to rest, pending bad weather

There's no shortage of mangoes on the horizon.

There's no shortage of mangoes on the horizon. Photo: Getty

Poor growing conditions have triggered fears some of our favourite fruit might be sparse this holiday season, but industry insiders say there should be plenty to go around.

A warmer-than-average Queensland winter sparked particular concerns that shoppers could be seeing fewer mangoes for sale this summer.

Australian Mangoes CEO Brett Kelly told TND supply volume is down compared to last year.

But last year was a bumper season. The market was so flooded with mangoes that prices were driven down to the point most growers “didn’t make any money at all”.

“This year, it’s been the opposite. Volume is down roughly 30 per cent,” Kelly said.

“We’ll still have plenty of mangoes available, but the good thing is that farmers will get a better price than last year.”

Kelly said the higher retail price for mangoes compared to last summer won’t be substantial, and it would help ensure a fair profit for farmers.

Cherry supply stable for now

Recent heavy rains across Victoria and South Australia led to similar concerns over cherry supplies going into the holiday period, with fears that continued bad weather could mean shortages.

Heavy rains have resulted in some damaged crops, but shoppers are not yet expected to feel much impact. Photo: AAP

But Mark Narduzzo, owner of Melbourne-based Pino’s Fine Produce, said supply is still strong – and will continue to be unless any major storms get in the way.

“[Any cherry variant] that’s super large, you always pay a premium for purely because the supply’s just not there [to meet demand],” he said.

“But your small to medium [cherries] so far have been good.

“If there’s a big thunderstorm and there’s hail, that’s going to change everything. But, so far, looking into Christmas it’s good.”

National Farmers Federation Horticulture Council chair Jolyon Burnett echoed the warning that unpredictable weather could change everything.

“Weather conditions have been like a fruit salad, with a bit of everything in the mix, including some great growing conditions while storms have damaged crops in other parts,” he said.

“There’s more extreme weather forecast on the cards from a cyclone in Queensland to a catastrophic fire danger day in South Australia, so it’s hard to predict what impact this will have on produce still in paddocks.

“Farmers are forever at the mercy of Mother Nature, so there will always be an impact on a food somewhere, so we just encourage people to shop around for the best price.”

There will still be plenty of summer fruit around with which to top the pavlova. Photo: Getty

Summer favourites set to do well

Apart from mangoes and cherries, other typical summer fruits look to be in strong supply and ready to top pavlovas across the country.

Narduzzo said stone fruits, such as apricots and nectarines, are available in good quality for reasonable prices in the lead up to the holidays, as are avocados.

Grape prices are still slightly high, but are expected to lower over the coming weeks.

Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries should be in good supply all the way through December, although Narduzzo anticipates the influx of raspberries will slow down in Christmas week.

As shoppers’ focus will largely be on fruit over the holiday period, he said basic vegetable prices will become cheaper, so be on the lookout for good deals on produce like zucchini and broccoli.

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