After enduring last season as the emerging COVID-19 pandemic created an uncertain workforce, apple producers are starting their second season a little more prepared.
While there are still uncertainties regarding the seasonal workforce's security, Dilston's Lees Orchard has already secured its workers for this season.
Lees Orchard's Daniel Morrison said the orchard's harvest season started about two weeks ago, and they secured most of their 10-strong seasonal workforce through social media.
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"Because we're only small, we usually get most of our inquiries through Facebook, but we had them secured pretty early and they had to come through and quarantine first."
Lees Orchard has pickers from the United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina, and some locals from the migrant community helping out on the farm.
Apple sales started this week on Thursday and Fridays at the farm, but Lees also supplies independent supermarkets in Launceston.
Lees Orchard owner Brendon Morrison said the weather had been favourable this year for the apples and pears, which are the main crops grown at the orchard.
"It's been a really good year, for apples in particular," he said.
Thanks to rain at the right times, the apples have ripened quickly. Mr Morrison said Lees was usually one of the first orchards to start harvesting.
And while they have secured their workforce and are looking good, Mr Morrison said discussions with more extensive orchards around the state had shown some anxiety growing.
"Not everyone is prepared, there is still some anxiety over the workforce and if there will be enough people to harvest, especially at some of the larger orchards," he said.
Seasonal workers have created uncertainty among the Tasmanian and Australian fruit and vegetable sectors, but the federal government recently announced some support.
States have the opportunity to sign up for a quarantine pilot that will allow countries such as Vanuatu and Fiji, which already run successful screening programs, to offer pre-travel quarantine for seasonal workers.
However, Tasmania has not indicated if it will sign up to the pilot at this stage. The state does have a deal with Victoria to quarantine seasonal workers in exchange for Tasmania's share of the repatriation flights.
One of Lees pickers, Jordan Cannor, from the United Kingdom, said he travelled to Tasmania to "get away from the city" and had already completed his hotel quarantine before starting at Lees.
"I like it [seasonal work], it can be hard work, but it's also very rewarding," he said.
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