Cold weather and lack of workers impacts cherry growers around Orange

Cherry growers impacted by cold weather, lack of workers in Orange region

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PICKING: Guy Gaeta, Orange, NSW with his Simone cherries, one of his most popular varieties.

PICKING: Guy Gaeta, Orange, NSW with his Simone cherries, one of his most popular varieties.

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Recent cold weather has caused issues for some NSW cherry growers.

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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 "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.

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"They have never let us down yet, and hopefully won't let us down this year," he said.

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.

CHILLY: Inspecting Simone cherries that have been impacted by the cold weather.

CHILLY: Inspecting Simone cherries that have been impacted by the cold weather.

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.

"We are looking, whether it be picking, packing, or sorting but the human eye is probably still more reliable than a computer's eye," he said.

Although there is uncertainty among some cherry famers, Mr Gaeta said Christmas tables in Australia will have cherries on them - but the price is yet to be seen.

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The story Cold weather and lack of workers impacts cherry growers around Orange first appeared on The Land.

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