Picking has started for this year's apple season

CRUNCH TIME: Millers Orchards marketing and operations manager Brendan Miller checking and packing Royal Gala apples at Hillwood. Picture: Neil Richardson.
CRUNCH TIME: Millers Orchards marketing and operations manager Brendan Miller checking and packing Royal Gala apples at Hillwood. Picture: Neil Richardson.

The beginning of March heralds the start of apple season in Tasmania, with producers all over the state gearing up for what they hope will be a bumper season.

Millers Orchards at Hillwood is currently picking Royal Gala apples after harvesting Williams and Bosc pears in late February, marketing and operations manager Brendan Miller said.

“Next week we’ll start on Golden Delicious and Packham Pears,” Mr Miller said.

“The season has been up and down. We’re estimating we’ll pick about 4,000 bins this season. We average about 3,500 to 4,000 per year,” he said.

Millers Orchards will keep picking apples until the first week in May, with stock sold in Launceston at Young’s Vegie Shed, throughout Tasmania in Woolworths and IGA stores and interstate at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane wholesale markets.

Other Millers Orchards fruit is destined for export to Asian markets, with Chinese consumers developing a taste for Tasmanian apples, he said.

“We finish harvesting in May and pack through until the end of December, when we start picking cherries until late January or early February,” Mr Miller said.

“We go all year and only stop processing for about three weeks,” he said.

Millers’ most popular apples are Royal Gala and Pink Lady, but the orchard is also growing new varieties that will hit the market in the next 3-5 years.

“Envy and Kanzi apples will become dominant varieties on shelves. Red Delicious and other varieties will slowly diminish as new varieties come into favour,” Mr Miller said.