PICKING has started across Tasmania's berry industry despite a cool start to the season.
For Turners Beach Berry Patch owner Craig Morris, the ongoing fruit-fly restrictions will see a lot less fruit grown on his farm this year.
While his operation can now sell fresh fruit to customers within the North-West control zone, Mr Morris said not being able to fumigate their fruit meant they were still unable to access main wholesale markets.
“Our season has started a lot slower than normal and the main reason for that is we have just planted the bare minimum we need because we still won't be able to sell into our normal markets,” Mr Morris said.
“We’re basically just treating this year as a holding pattern.”
Mr Morris estimates the restrictions mean the business is only accessing about 5 per cent to 8 per cent of its normal markets.
Changes to the compensation part of the State Government’s fruit-fly assistance measures that came in effect in October mean growers within the control zone do not receive any financial assistance for fruit that sold at a loss or wasted.
“The Government told us that no one would be disadvantaged, but we’re going to be massively worse off,” Mr Morris said.
As well as fruit sales, the farm also has an on-site cafe which Mr Morris said has been a huge benefit since the fruitfly incursion.
“We’re very lucky we’ve diversified into agri-tourism,” he said. “The cafe is very busy and we’ll have enough fruit for what we need there.”
Mr Morris said most of their customers are very supportive of the fruit movement restrictions.
With no fruit being grown in the farm’s poly tunnels this year, Mr Morris said those would be used to propagate new plants in preparation for next season.
Adult fruit flies and larvae were detected in the state earlier this year.
Tasmania’s fruit industry now faces a nervous wait over the next few weeks as the January 9 deadline for the state to be declared fruit-fly free again gets closer.