The Aussie Christmas could be about to change as we might not get to eat one of our favourite foods this year.
It has been reported that we are in the midst of a cherry crisis, with the stoned fruit expected to cost an extra $5 a kilogram this season. Just how serious is the issue? Coles has now issued an apology, telling customers rain had caused cherries to swell and split, and would have a limited supply. And Woolworths is currently selling cherries for almost $20 a kilo and charging $7 for punnets, not very good news for shoppers.
According to New South Wales Cherry Growers’ Association president Fiona Hall, the season was running about two weeks behind, meaning it will be a scramble to get bulk cherries on supermarket shelves before Christmas.
She told news.com.au crops were down about 50 or 60 per cent because of wet weather during the growing season. Demand is at an all time high during December, with the fruit a symbol for Christmas in Australia.
To Lauren Rosewarne of Melbourne University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, there wasn’t really a substitute for cherries. “Cherries have a symbolic role in Australian summer time and Christmas culture. We don’t have a snowy European Christmas but we’ve got cherries and seafood,” Dr Rosewarne told news.com.au.
“There’s not an easy Christmassy substitute and importing them at this time of year is going to be difficult. They grow in warmer weather and Australia imports some cherries from America, but they’re not grown there this time of year.
“You can buy canned cherries or frozen cherries, but defrosting a box doesn’t make for a nice fruit platter, it doesn’t have the same appeal.
“It will become a class problem at Christmas, cherries will be an extreme luxury item and they’ll get really expensive as it comes to Christmas and it will be harder for the average person to get.”