Chestnuts roll on despite bushfire setback

Chestnut industry determined to crack on despite tough start

Horticulture
AVAILABLE: Australian chestnuts are now in season even though many growing areas were hard hit by bushfires over summer.

AVAILABLE: Australian chestnuts are now in season even though many growing areas were hard hit by bushfires over summer.

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Chestnut industry determined to get back on its feet after a challenging start.

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DESPITE taking a hit during the summer bushfires, the Australian chestnut industry is determined to make a go of the 2020 season.

With about 70 per cent of Australia's chestnuts grown in north-east Victoria, with other orchards located in NSW, Western Australia and South Australia, many were directly affected by fire either in December or early January.

In places like Batlow, considerable losses were reported, while Adelaide Hills growers reported partial losses to both trees and irrigation systems.

Tumbarumba and Sassafras orchards also sustained some partial losses.

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Tom and Judy Robertson grow chestnuts on a property called Mortat in Tumbarumba.

Mr Robertson, who is committee member of Chestnuts Australia, said he felt incredibly lucky they only sustained minor damage in the New Year's fires.

But he said he was worried for his fellow growers.

"Our property came away relatively unscathed with only a few repairs required but we are very conscious that others didn't fare so well," Mr Robertson said.

He said his crop should be uninterrupted but this will not be the case for all growers.

Mr Robertson knows of farms that have lost significant numbers of trees that will take years to regrow.

Some whose farms were damaged in earlier fires before Christmas have already begun rebuilding

READY: Despite some damage from bushfires over summer, the Australian chestnut industry is determined to carry on.

READY: Despite some damage from bushfires over summer, the Australian chestnut industry is determined to carry on.

"Ours is a small industry and we are all working together to help get everyone back on their feet," Mr Robertson said.

"The best thing that people can do to help us all in this difficult period is to keep buying chestnuts so that our businesses continue to trade."

Chestnuts Australia has been encouraging all Australians to "make everyday meals special with chestnuts".

Chestnuts boast health benefits such as vitamin C, folate and potassium, while also being high in fibre but low in kilojoules.

Chestnut and Chicken Meatballs and Gluten-free Chestnut Brownies

The story Chestnuts roll on despite bushfire setback first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

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