Cherry farms around Orange have been impacted by the cold weather and local grower Guy Gaeta is unsure of what the future of his cherries will be. Mr Gaeta, of Gaeta & Sons Orchards, is a long time cherry grower in the region after moving from Sydney 35 years ago with his family. Since then, he has sold his cherries at the Flemington markets every year and said he has always had great success as he believes everybody seems to love cherries.
Mr Gaeta said of the eight species he grows, he favours the Simone, Sylvia and Lapin varieties – with Simone the top pick. The recent cold weather in the area has caused issues for some of the cherry growers in the region. When the weather is cold the cherries struggle to grow and can become blemished with dark marks. Some growers have also faced rain damage on their plants. If the weather improves and there are consistent warm days, Mr Gaeta said he thinks his cherries could be ready to harvest in as soon as two weeks and things will look unbelievable.
However, the lack of workers is likely to impact the industry even if a strong harvest is possible. Although border restrictions are easing, Mr Gaeta said it is too late to rely on backpackers, and said current research and development in the industry is focused on implementing various technologies to reduce the amount of physical work required to grow and harvest cherries. Although there is uncertainty among some cherry farmers, Mr Gaeta said Christmas tables in Australia will have cherries on them – but the price is yet to be seen.