Courtesy Produce Marketing AustraliaU.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, right, met California stone fruit Australian representative and Produce Marketing Australia chief executive John Baker, left, for a launch event Aug. 12 at Sydney Wholesale Markets.The recent opening of Australia as a new market for California peaches and nectarines marks the start of a growth period there, according to U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich.
“The early welcome extended to California peaches and nectarines by Australian consumers and retailers has led California stone fruit growers to forecast the market could reach $50 million over the next five years, especially if plums are also permitted access to the Australian market,” Bleich said in a news release.
So far only peaches and nectarines meet Australia’s quarantine requirements. This includes inspection of all fruit in California before being shipped to Australia. A preclearance program began Aug. 5 with the arrival of the first Australian inspector in California.
“Starting this week there will be more varieties of sweet tangy fruits here that you ordinarily couldn’t get in winter,” Bleich said in the Aug. 12 release.
Smaller volumes had already arrived. Kingsburg-based HMC Farms shipped the first California stone fruit, arriving July 27 at the Sydney airport. Reedley, Calif.-based Sun Valley Packing expected to start shipments shortly after.
Until mid-October, imported yellow-flesh peaches and nectarines and white-flesh nectarines will be available. All fruit has arrived by air freight.