13 Jul 2022

Some food off the menu as wet weather knocks product

7:46 pm on 13 July 2022

Extremely wet weather across the Tasman means some fruit and veggies will be off the menu for customers here, because importers are unable to get their hands on some types of produce.

Male carrying bag in his hand after shopping. Closeup of bag full of fruits and vegetables.

Photo: 123rf

Queensland fruit and vegetable growers are warning there would be reduced quality and increased prices over the next fortnight as weather events decimate crops.

ABC rural news reports Cross Family Farms, one of Australia's largest fruit and vegetable growers, was recording major losses after widespread rain across the state.

Smaller growers were feeling the pinch too. Townsville fruit shop owner Luke Glasie told the ABC whole crops of asparagus and leeks had been wiped out.

He said a cold-snap in North Queensland was affecting the quality of capsicum, rock melons and tomatoes.

"At the moment, the real quality isn't isn't there, so in your head, you just have to think of supporting the grower," he said.

Glasie said customers needed to remember the reduction in offerings had nothing to do with the staff working there.

Back here, the head of United Fresh, Jerry Prendergast, said the knock-on effects of that meant some foods are off the menu for this season.

"It really has knocked product, like beans, courgettes, the melons out of Queensland, we normally expect to get strawberries at this time of year out of there too and it's been almost impossible," he said.

"A little bit of strawberries are coming out of Western Australia but of course, Western Australia is now is servicing the rest of Australia, hence it is very difficult to get hold of strawberries for the rest of New Zealand.

"This rainfall, which has just been unprecedented in Queensland, has been incredibly challenging for our supply in New Zealand, and consumers in New Zealand are normally expecting to receive consistent supply of beans at this time of the year.

"Hospitality uses a lot of beans at this time of the year, courgettes at this time of the year are very difficult to produce in New Zealand, if not impossible, out of season.

"So we really rely on that Queensland supply for those couple of products."

Prendergast said anyone with a hankering for beans should try brussel sprouts instead, as there was plenty of them around.

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