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Consumers urged to buy blemished apples to support storm-impacted SA growers

Tom Nancarrow, Tuesday April 3, 2018 - 06:28 EST
ABC image
These apples are perfect to eat, despite small damage from 2017 hail storms in the Adelaide Hills. - ABC

South Australia's apple industry is urging consumers not to neglect blemished fruit, as part of a new campaign supporting growers impacted by storm damage.

The "Hailstorm Heroes" campaign, which kicks off today, will see packs of hail-blemished produce rolled out across major sellers and grocers in South Australia.

Some supermarkets will also increase the quantities of impacted produce sold as loose fruit in an effort to help producers salvage lost income.

Chief Executive Officer of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia, Susie Green, said the campaign aims to educate buyers that the product is fine to eat regardless of its appearance.

"It is really I guess about helping to raise public awareness that despite those minor little marks, the fruit is really good to eat on the inside," she said.

"We are so used to buying with our eyes and looking for something that looks good.

"We do need the public to support our growers, because they have faced a pretty tough time over the last 12 to 18 months in particular, and have some tough times ahead."

About forty growers were left facing crop damage after a , causing estimated losses of fruit sales in excess of $32 million dollars.

Ms Green says with the overall damage bill yet to be tallied, it is important to try and sell fruit that may otherwise be destined for the bin.

"Up to a half of the crop has got some really minor blemish, which is what we are trying to push," she said.

"Almost all of it would either end up in the juice bin, or because we would have so much fruit, there would be a glut on the juice market and potentially it may just end up being discarded completely."

"It would just be such a shame to see all that fruit go to waste when it can be used."

Growers welcome initiative to educate about imperfections

Last October's storm affected an estimated 90 per cent of fruit crops, ranging from minor marks to extensive damage.

Paracombe pear grower Damian McArdle said almost all of the local pear growers copped some sort of impact.

"I think the first thing that goes through your mind is wondering what you are going to do to get through for the next two years," Mr McArdle said.

"Nowadays you just cannot afford to not have an income for 12 to 24 months.

"If the growers can get through this year, we can obviously continue growing fruit for years to come."

Mr McArdle said the campaign was a welcome tool in the battle to educate eaters not to judge fresh produce based solely on looks.

"The reality is if you have got pieces of fruit that are marked sitting on the display, they are typically the last ones to sell," he said.

"By using that education, you can teach people that a mark or two is okay."

"It is all good to have a picture of a perfect piece of fruit that is modified on a computer, but if you actually walk out to the trees, the reality is there is no computer cords programming those trees to grow the perfect piece of fruit."


© ABC 2018

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