South Australians are being urged to support local growers by overlooking small hail marks and enjoying apples and pears with a few spots and dots as part of the Hailstorm Heroes campaign launched this week.
In October 2017, a severe hailstorm hit the Adelaide Hills and South East when the pears and apples were in their early stages of growth destroying a quarter of the South Australian crop according to the Apple & Pear Growers Association of SA (APGASA).
Following the storm, local growers worked hard to save the apples and pears that had some superficial marks on the skin but were still delicious and nutritious on the inside. This fruit will be sold as part of a Hailstorm Heroes campaign launched at supermarkets and greengrocers this week in SA and the Northern Territory.
Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the SA industry has worked closely with Hort Innovation to develop the initiative.
“Affected growers are telling us they want to get the message out to consumers loud and clear: pears and apples with a few small hail spots are still great quality and good to eat,” he said.
Fifth generation apple and pear grower Brett James said his orchard was hit three times by a battering of small hail during the night of the October storm.
“The fine hail was the size of rice grains and went straight through the hail net, covering all the trees and marking the skin of small fruit that was starting to grow,” Brett said.
“Luckily, since the storm, we have had excellent growing conditions and a relatively mild summer so the apples and pears we managed to save have matured and developed delicious, full flavours – they really do taste great.
“We hope shoppers will look past the spots and support us by eating Hailstorm Hero apples and pears.”
Susie Green, APGASA CEO, said that all apple and pear varieties were impacted by the hailstorm.
“Royal Gala apples and Williams pears will be the first Hailstorm Heroes at supermarkets and greengrocers. However, the hail marks may actually be more visible on popular varieties harvested in late autumn, like Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples and Packham pears.”
Hailstorm Hero apple or pear packs can be found in Coles, Foodland, IGA and ALDI. Woolworths will be selling Hailstorm Hero apples and pears as part of its Odd Bunch range, and the fruit will also be sold at some independent grocers.
The Hailstorm Heroes campaign is being delivered by Hort Innovation using apple and pear marketing levies, with assistance from APGASA and support from retailers, Primary Industries and Regions SA, and Brand South Australia.