After devastating hailstorms in South Australia late last year, new season fruit has been left dotted with hail marks for the second year running.
South Australian growers want to assure consumers that a few spots on the skin of the fruit do not affect the texture or flavour in any way. However, to draw attention to the plight of hail-affected growers, blemished fruit will once again be sold under the “Hailstorm Heroes” banner that saw success last year.
Coles, Foodland, IGA, and some greengrocers are participating in the campaign, while Woolworths will include Hailstorm Heroes fruit as part of its Odd Bunch range.
The Hailstorm Heroes campaign is an industry lead initiative that is being delivered by Hort Innovation using the Apple and Pear Fund, with assistance from retailers, the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA (APGASA), Primary Industries and Regions SA, and Brand South Australia.
APGASA CEO Susie Green said last year South Australians crunched their way through more than 1000 tonnes of Hailstorm Heroes fruit, helping growers salvage some returns for their crop.
“This year it’s even more important to support local growers,” said Susie.
The South Australian apple industry is still adding up the full cost of damages from the 2017 hailstorm but estimates place losses at around $32 million. It is expected losses from the most recent hailstorm will be similar, with many growers expecting to lose 50 per cent to 70 per cent of their income this season.
Fifth generation apple grower Ashley Green has orchards spread kilometers apart in the Adelaide Hills but hail damaged “every tree, on every patch, on every property”.
“In the past, hailstorms have only hit one or two patches badly, but in the past two years, the hail has blanketed the whole growing district. We’ve never seen that before,” said Ashley.
Royal Galas will be the first Hailstorm Heroes at supermarkets and greengrocers. However, all apple varieties have been impacted and the superficial marks may be more visible on varieties that are picked in late Autumn like Pink Lady® and Granny Smith.
Read the original press release.
Hort Innovation is a not-for-profit, industry-owned organisation that delivers more than $100 million in research, development and marketing activities on behalf of growers each year. Hort Innovation is managing the Hailstorm Heroes apples marketing campaign.