CHERRY producers are expecting a bumper crop.
Member for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson said it had been an excellent season for cherry production.
"NSW grows some of the world's best quality fresh cherries which feature a distinct bright appearance and delicious taste," she said.
"There are 108 cherry producing enterprises in NSW that cover an area of approximately 800 hectares and produce around 4500 tonnes each year,” she said.
"This equates to one third of the national crop, with an estimated gross value of $35-$40 million for the state's economy,” she said.
"The towns of Young and Orange have traditionally been the State's main producing areas - supplying 70 per cent of the cherries grown in NSW.
Ms Hodgkinson said the cherry growing regions included Hillston, Mudgee, Wellington, Gilmore and Batlow.
"Hillston and Narromine regions aim to produce the earliest cherries in Australia, while Wellington and Mudgee are also considered as early maturing areas,” she said.
Cherry production varies greatly due to climatic changes and the growing season.
This season has provided good growing conditions with the crisp cold winter, average rainfall and a burst of spring heat to maximise production.
Currently the national production of fresh cherries is around 15,500 tonnes.
The industry has an estimated value of around $120 million annually, with 80 per cent consumed domestically.
Mrs Hodgkinson said cherry producers can look forward to growth in the industry with the national production forecast estimated to rise to 20,000 tonnes by 2020.
And exports were predicted to increase to 50 per cent of production.
The current key export markets for NSW cherries include Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Katrina encouraged everyone to buy, local cherries and make the most of this great season and delicious crop.
In addition to being home to many growers Young is considered the “cherry capital”.
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