Cherry prices to go up after unseasonable rain New Zealand

3 Jan , 2019 stuff.co.nz

The rain drenching New Zealand during the last weeks has caused crops of the stone fruit to split and rot, meaning there will be a lower supply at New Zealand's fruit stalls and supermarkets. At the top of the South Island, Marlborough cherry growers suffered through the wettest season in a decade.

​Cherrybank Orchard, just south of Blenheim, had 102 mm of rain during November, compared to the previous November when there was 2mm of precipitation. Owner Blair McLean lost about 50 percent of his 2018 "early varieties" of cherries. The damage caused a shortage which effected those shopping for Christmas dinner.

In reality, the rain has affected cherry crops throughout the country, said Summerfruit New Zealand chief executive Marie Dawkins, however: "Kiwi Christmas tables will still have them. It's probably just going to cost you a little more, but they will still be there. The cherries will still be of a high quality and will taste great.”

Cherry crops were not the only victim of the downpours - it was also detrimental for other fruits, like strawberries, Dawkins said.

Waihopai Valley Eden Orchards’ Gary Bignell agreed cherries would be expensive and in short supply over the festive season: "When you get too much rain, the cherries ripen and they split. When cherries split, they rot." Bignell had lost about 30 per cent of his crop.