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My Harvest: Scott Price, APAL director and Production Manager at R & R Smith, Huon Valley, Tasmania

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Harvest at R & R Smth

Having been around since the 19th century and as owner of the Willie Smith’s cider brand, R & R Smith are already among the most iconic apple growers in Tasmania. A bumper harvest this year will only help that along.

The orchard, located 40 minutes south of Hobart in the Huon Valley, sits on 115 acres and focuses on organic farming.

Production Manager Scott Price said R & R Smith benefited from the good conditions down south this season.

“We finished almost two weeks ago, and we’re very happy with how we went overall,” Scott said.

“Volumes were up about 10 per cent on what they normally would be. In fairness this was due a bit to young trees coming through and bearing fruit, so you’ll always have a bit more because of that.

“But we had really good quality for all our apples, we were very happy with that.

“Size was down a bit, mainly in Galas, and especially in Royal Galas. They also struggled with colour a bit as well.

“The varieties sold as Pink Lady though, size was good and the late stuff that came through, colour was absolutely sensational. Really good fruit.”

Scott said the prospect of a coronavirus breakout had the potential to wreak havoc at all orchards, something especially true of a larger orchard like R & R Smith’s.

“With the coronavirus risk, it put everyone under pressure, and not just at our orchards, to get fruit off the trees as quickly as possible and into the cool-room in case there was some sort of breakout. I think that showed a bit.

“It made it tricky for pickers, we’ve had a few that got some citrus work and moved onto another farm, a few that have managed to get a flight home, and then a few have stuck around here, and we’ve obviously got a moral obligation with those guys.

“But overall, everything panned out well, I think across Tasmania everyone did okay this season.”

Scott Price getting into the winter jobs. Credit: Weekly Times

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apples cider harvest My Harvest organic cider R & R Smith

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