An unseasonal new year heatwave has brought an abrupt end to the cherry season for one grower left $30,000 out of pocket due to soaring temperatures spoiling most of her fruit.
Alice English from Youanmi Cherries, 12km north of Mt Barker, was forced to pay pickers to strip her trees after almost a week of excessive temperatures destroyed about two tonnes of cherries.
Ms English said five days of temperatures above 35C, including a scorching 41C on New Year’s Day, turned her cherries into mush.
She had intended on continuing to sell cherries at the Albany Farmers Market for two more weeks.
“We haven’t picked anything since the new year,” she said. “It was those five days that really affected them. New Year’s Day pretty much killed them.”
The stripped cherries have been left to rot on the ground.
“It was a horrid way to end the season and it wasn’t a great season anyway,” she said. “It was the shortest and worst season ever.”