Squeeze on fruit – Mixed seasons results

IT’S been a year of transition for the Sorell Fruit Farm, and despite a lower yield of fruit from this season’s crop, fantastic support from loyal locals has kept the orchards ticking over, with big expectations for next season when tourists are back among the fruits.

The warm, wet weather that spanned the second half of 2021 in Tasmania brought about a mix of fortunes with producers across the state, and at the Sorell Fruit Farm, that weather has put the squeeze on the freshly pruned trees.

“We had one of the warmest winters and coldest, wettest spring in this area for some time, so when it was pollination time it was raining and cold,” said Ally Lynn, who has worked at the orchard for 15 years.

The pollination rate through the orchard was estimated to only be at around 30 to 40 per cent.

“We had pruned our trees earlier in the year and we know that would effect what amount of fruit that would come out, but the timing of the weather certainly didn’t help us.
“That being said, our strawberries have loved the weather so far. We usually lose a lot of our strawberries through January, they usually get hit pretty hard by the heat over January, but this year they’ve thrived. “Thank goodness, they’ve been our lifesaver, people always flock to pick strawberries.”

Ms Lynn said the smaller yield was certainly a problem, but the lower-than usual number of tourist visitors has meant locals have come to the fore in support.

“The locals have been fantastic to us, supporting us since Covid had kicked off, but we’re really looking forward to the tourists coming back, for us and the whole region.”

The Sorell Fruit Farm offers a pick-your-own experience for visitors, with apples, nashi pears, cherries, apricots, strawberries, blackberries, peaches and nectarines off the vine ready to pick from approximately 5ha of land just outside Sorell.