Ripe on time for pickers

IT’S apple-picking season across the Apple Isle and after concerns of a dry summer following an unusually wet spring, the clouds have cleared to reveal a solid season for growers.

Orchard manager at Hansen’s Derwent Valley, Wayne Trengrove, said the season has so far, been a positively uneventful one.

“Because we can draw our water from the Derwent River, the drier summer hasn’t affected us too much, our fruit size is pretty good, we’ve got good picker numbers, touch wood, but it’s been going smoothly,” Mr Trengrove said.

Hansen Orchards in the Derwent Valley have pulled their seasonal staff, around 50 apple-pickers, largely from those worked the earlier cherry-picking season, and the deployment of picking machines along the tops is making work a lot easier for the seasoned pickers.

“We have pulled in locals from New Norfolk, as well as backpackers and a few workers from the Hobart area. They’ve usually worked the cherries beforehand and are keen to keep picking for us through the season.”

Mr Trengrove said he was expecting a “close to normal” season from their 40ha orchards, which typically produces around 3500 bins of apples that predominantly find their way into Tasmanian supermarkets, as well as supplying to other domestic and international markets.

“We usually to run until the second week of May and we’ve had a very run-of-the-mill season this year, so we don’t expect it to be very different.
“We’ve got a solid group of pickers this year, with some really good workers picking without any hiccups, so we’ve been able to bring the apples in quickly and then take a few days off to get other jobs done.”

“It’s been smooth so far.”