Crunch on Hailstorm Hero apples and support SA growers

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South Australian shoppers are once again being urged to support Adelaide Hills apple growers by overlooking small hailstorm marks and spots on new season fruit.

A severe hailstorm hit the Adelaide Hills last year, impacting apples as they were just beginning to grow, leaving the fruit with small dotted hail marks. The region is home to 85% of the state’s apple crop and all apple orchards sustained some damage during the storm.

It is the second year that apple growers are facing fruit losses, after a hailstorm hit in October 2017, wiping out a quarter of apple and pear crops in the Adelaide Hills and South East, leaving growers with a loss of about $32 million.

For the second time, the Hailstorm Heroes campaign will roll out and encourage local shoppers to support the industry by overlooking the harmless spots and dots on fruit.

The 2018 Hailstorm Heroes campaign saw South Aussies bite in to more than 1000 tonnes of fruit. Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA CEO Susie Green says “this year it’s even more important to support local growers”.

Growers affected by the latest storm have worked hard to nurture the surviving crop, which only sustained a few superficial spots and dots on the skin, and is still good to eat.

SA food ambassador and head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights, Kris Lloyd, says the few spots on the skin are natural blemishes and don’t effect the texture or flavour in any way.

“I encourage you to support your local grower and help make a difference by cutting food waste,” she says. “And let’s not stop there, tell your friends and family how they can help too. If we all play a part in spreading the word, we’ll make a difference to this very important issue.”

Hailstorm Heroes apple packs will be available at Foodland, Coles, IGAs and some greengrocers throughout the state, while Woolworths will also sell the fruit as part of its Odd Bunch range.

Royal galas will be the first Hailstorm Heroes apple variety available at supermarkets, while other varieties will make their way into stores in late autumn.

As part of the Hailstorm Heroes campaign locals will also be able to get their hands on freshly picked apples and pears this Saturday (March 23) at the Adelaide Central Markets.

There are 40 commercial apple growers in the Adelaide Hills who produce 85% of the state’s apple crop and 10% of the national crop. They produce about 30,000 tonnes of apples annually, worth $63.5 million.

Fifth generation apple grower Ashley Green of Lenswood has orchards spread kilometres apart in the Adelaide Hills but says the hail storm 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,” he says. “We’ve never seen that before.”

The Hailstorm Heroes campaign is being delivered by Hort Innovation with support from the Apple and Pear Growers Association SA, PIRSA and Brand South Australia.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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