THE annual market Fresh SA cherry auction was held at the SA Produce Markets in Pooraka on December 9, with bids flying until the box of locally-grown cherries was knocked down for $31,000, to be donated to the Childhood Cancer Association.
With NC Real Estate's David Renfrey carrying out the auctioneering duties, the 5kg box of cherries was eventually knocked down to father and son duo Ashwin and Anshu Patel, who own Fulham Fresh, Fulham Gardens, and Fruit Lovers Market, Kilburn
Anshu was crowned the official Cherry King of 2020, which is awarded to the successful bidder at the auction.
The 18-year-old had never actively participated in the cherry auction before, but said he was "delighted" to support such a worthy cause.
"I was brought up in India, and our culture is very much about giving and helping others out, and supporting the CCA was a great cause," he said.
CCA chief executive, Cath O'Loughlin, was extremely grateful for the funding support.
"Each year we try to raise $1 million, which has been challenging in 2020, so we were thrilled to be at the event and have the support of the auction," she said.
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The funding will go towards providing city accommodation for country families, mental health support, and educational support for the children.
The cherry auction is usually held at the annual Adelaide Cherry Ball, but with the 2020 event cancelled due to COVID-19, the produce markets was chosen as the venue.
The auction had not been held at the markets since 1996.
In attendance were primary industries minister, David Basham, Cherries SA executive officer, Susie Green, SA Produce Market chief executive officer and Horticultural Coalition of SA chair, Angelo Demasi, and Market Fresh SA, marketing manager Penny Reidy.
The CCA were first time beneficiaries of the auction, and were also beneficiaries of an event at Romeo's Foodland in Rundle Mall on November 12, celebrating the start of strawberry harvest.
At the strawberry event, seven Adelaide Hills strawberry growers each donated a pallet of strawberries, with all proceeds of the sales of the strawberries at the shop through the day donated to the charity. More than $3300 was raised.
Ms Reidy said the strawberry and cherry events were a fantastic way to remind South Australians to support fresh and local produce.
"We want to highlight to the SA public that these fruits are in season, they are tasting good, and we need to support local SA growers who have had a bit of a tough year," she said.
"We really encourage people to head out to their independent Pick a Local, Pick SA store and buy some local strawberries or cherries, that's the best thing we can do for growers."
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