Berry farmer rejoices in ‘finest harvest on file’ as rain brings welcome relief

While many harvests have been disrupted by latest flooding throughout central west New South Wales, a berry farmer close to Orange has skilled his finest yield on file.

Huntley Berry Farm supervisor Tony Belmonte mentioned the climate circumstances couldn’t have been extra good after heavy rainfall and heat temperatures. 

“To date we’re having an superior season, choosing loads of strawberries. It is presumably going to be our greatest blueberry season on file, even raspberries are simply on the market flourishing,” Mr Belmonte mentioned. 

“In the final 30 years that I’ve lived in Orange, it must be essentially the most quantity of rain that it has ever obtained.

“Everything is simply lining up, we’ve acquired loads of moisture, loads of sunshine.”

Middle aged man in a blue shirt holding blue berries in his hand surrounded by green bushes
Huntley Berry Farm proprietor Tony Belmonte says greater than 3,000 folks have visited the property this season.(ABC Central West: Hamish Cole )

Orange Airport obtained 1,455 millimetres of rain in 2021 — making it the fourth wettest 12 months on file in the area. 

Mr Belmonte mentioned after years of drought this summer time had been a welcome relief. 

“Due to the acute warmth and the dearth of rain over the past three years throughout the drought season, most of our fruit did not develop or develop in any respect,” he mentioned. 

“When it did develop on these scorching summer time days by December, it was really so scorching that it was simply dropping to the bottom.

“So that is really the primary time in three years that the Huntley Berry Farm has really picked blueberries. 

A blackboard sign with strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries written on it
For the primary time in three years, Huntley Berry Farm is seeing fruit develop after heavy rainfall and heat temperatures. (ABC Central West: Hamish Cole )

Threat of Omicron 

While there are many berries accessible, the unfold of Omicron has had an influence on guests to the farm, significantly with the cancellation of huge bus excursions. 

“We have seen a downturn in guests because it has been in the news these days, I feel individuals are beginning to get a bit of bit nervous,” Mr Belmonte mentioned. 

“The bus journeys out right here on the farm are a giant a part of our income.

“It is all the time devastating when guests must cancel their journeys.

Combination of blue and purple berries surrounded by green leaves
Tony Belmonte says the latest cancellations have been a blow for the farm however hopes visitation will increase in the approaching months, (ABC Central West: Hamish Cole )

The Huntley Berry Farm employs 14 incapacity staff as a part of a program to assist them achieve farm expertise for future employment. 

Mr Belmonte mentioned in order to guard workers that they had made modifications to the best way they operated. 

“We have reacted to that by having our workers work totally different days so some should not uncovered to guests.”

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