FOR many cherry farms in Victoria, the cherry season has come and gone, but for Cherryhill Orchards, the season is only halfway through.
The development of a new high-elevation orchard in the Alpine region has allowed the company to extend its season into late summer. Cherryhill Orchards has sites at Cobram and Wandin.
Its orchard at Tolmie, near Mansfield, is now also up and running after setbacks caused by drought and bushfires.
Rich volcanic soil and long daylight hours mean a long growing season, extra sweetness and a deeper colour.
At 1000m above sea level, the orchard grows the highest-elevation cherries in Victoria, allowing them to compete with late ripening Tasmanian cherries.
Owner Stephen Riseborough said he expected the orchard to produce more than one million kilograms of cherries this season.
"Most people think all the cherries on the market at the moment are from Tasmania, and are surprised to find Victorian cherries are still available," he said. "This year has been an excellent growing season, with no heavy rain or hail to damage the crop, so the cherries are the best quality in years."
Cherryhill is a family-run business and supplies major supermarkets and independent greengrocers, as well as export customers.
"This late crop of cherries is an opportunity for Cherryhill to export the cherries to Asia and Europe," sales manager Craig Boulton said.
- For more details, call 1300 243 779 or visit cherryhill.com.au