[30 December/Stuff]

Heavy rain and humid weather has played havoc on North Island strawberry growers leaving shortages and quality issues around Christmas, the busiest time of the year for strawberries.  Waikato grower Gary McMahon described the season as shocking and listed wet weather and humidity as the biggest challenges. The wet weather throughout December meant it was hard for growers to supply quality fruit over the period. Despite this McMahon felt optimistic about the remainder of the season with around 40 percent of his crop still to be picked.  Auckland Chairman of Strawberry Growers NZ, Anthony Rakich, said it had been a tough season noting much of the rain came during the ‘flush’ when the crop was about to be harvested.