[16 December/Stuff]

The rain during the late spring and early summer period has caused stone fruit crops to split and rot, meaning there is lower supply at New Zealand’s fruit stalls and supermarkets in the run up to Christmas. Marlborough cherry growers suffered their 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. Orchard owner Blair McLean said he had lost about 50 per cent of his 2018 early cherry varieties, but said his later varieties “are not looking too bad”. Summerfruit New Zealand chief executive Marie Dawkins said there will still be high quality, great tasting cherries for Kiwi Christmas tables but they will probably cost a little more. Cherry crops are not the only victims of the downpours with the growers of other fruits, like strawberries, also being challenged by the weather.