Cherries sell for $31,000 at annual auction

Cherry auction attracts $31,000 winning bid

Horticulture
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The $31,000 was donated to the Childhood Cancer Association.

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The annual Market Fresh SA cherry auction was held at the SA Produce Markets in Pooraka, South Australia, earlier this month, with the box of local cherries eventually sold for a sensational $31,000, which was donated to the Childhood Cancer Association.

The five-kilogram box of cherries was knocked down to father and son duo Ashwin and Anshu Patel, who own Fulham Fresh, Fulham Gardens, and Fruit Lovers Market, Kilburn.

Anshu was crowned the official Cherry King of 2020, a title awarded to the successful bidder at the auction.

The 18-year-old said he was "delighted" that the proceeds were going to charity.

"I was brought up in India, and our culture is all about giving and helping each other out, so we thought that supporting the CCA was a great cause," he said.

We were thrilled to be at the event and have the support of the auction. - CATH O'LOUGHLIN

CCA chief executive Cath O'Loughlin, was extremely grateful for the funding support.

"Each year we try to raise $1 million, which has been challenging in 2020, so we were thrilled to be at the event and have the support of the auction," she said.

The funds will go towards providing city accommodation for rural families with a child diagnosed with cancer, as well as mental health support, and educational support.

The cherry auction had not been held at the markets since 1996, as it is usually held at the Adelaide Cherry Ball, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

The CCA were first time beneficiaries of the auction, and were also beneficiaries of an event at Romeo's Foodland in Rundle Mall on November 12, celebrating the start of strawberry harvest.

At the strawberry event, seven Adelaide Hills strawberry growers each donated a pallet of strawberries, with all proceeds of the sales of the strawberries at the shop through the day donated to the charity. More than $3300 was raised.

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Ms Reidy said the strawberry and cherry events were a fantastic way to remind South Australians to support fresh and local produce.

"We want to highlight to the SA public that these fruits are in season, they are tasting good, and we need to support local SA growers who have had a bit of a tough year," she said.

"We really encourage people to head out to their independent Pick a Local, Pick SA store and buy some local strawberries or cherries, that's the best thing we can do for growers."

With the end of cherry harvest drawing near, Cherry Growers SA executive officer Susie Green said most growers would finish picking by the end of the month, and were on-track for an "average" season.

She said a cold and wet flowering period in early spring had hurt some varieties, but most trees were not overly heavy in their cropping, leading to good sized fruit and good quality.

"What is potentially going to be the biggest challenge is what the weather does from here on in; so far it hasn't been too extreme one way or the other to create any significant issues. Fine and mild days would be the perfect finish for cherries," she said.

She said uncertainty surrounded cherry export demand and overseas market access, which would be a major factor influencing domestic prices, but fortunately domestic cherry demand remained strong.

The story Cherries sell for $31,000 at annual auction first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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