Excellent pre-season conditions improve sweetness, size and colour of Tasmania’s 2024 apple crop

The 2024 Tasmanian apple season is ramping up with excellent growing conditions set to deliver an increase in sweetness, size, and vibrance in colour, according to Fruit Growers Tasmania.

Tasmania's 2024 apple season has begun with the harvest of Royal Gala and Smitten

Tasmania’s 2024 apple season has begun with the harvest of Royal Gala and Smitten

The season commenced in February with Royal Gala and Smitten amongst the first varieties to be harvested. Both will continue harvesting until May.

Peter Cornish, chief executive of Fruit Growers Tasmania, said generations of orchardists have been commercially growing apples across Tasmania for over 160 years and while the current industry was more consolidated, it was the source of plenty of innovation.

“In the late 1960s through to early 1970s, the peak time for apple exports from Tasmania, over 800 small orchards were scattered across almost every region of the state,” he said.

“Since then, apple orchards have consolidated to the most commercially productive growing regions, these include the central northwest, the Tamar Valley, the Derwent Valley, and the Huon Valley.”

In the Huon Valley, three orchards are growing unique Tasmanian apple varieties. Scott Brothers developed Tiger Fuji, which since 2014 has been exported to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Rubigold, developed by BW Griggs & Sons, is mostly sold domestically but is also exported to Singapore. And, in 2023, R&R Smith picked their first harvest of Southern Bliss, adding an organic option to Tasmania’s special varieties. Tasmanian apples are also exported to Papua New Guinea.

“Apples are great in the lunchbox, on a platter or as part of a picnic and they make a delicious snack at any time of the day. So, now’s the time to get out there and appreciate the abundance of crisp, juicy in-season apples that Tasmania has to offer,” Cornish said.