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Summerfruit Orchards apricot harvest production manager Whitney Affleck was out testing the size of the fruit, the sugar content and firmness yesterday and said it was expected their Mascot apricots would be picked tomorrow for the local market.
The 75ha orchard has 25ha of apricot trees and Miss Affleck expects an apricot harvest of 400 tonnes over the season - "about 50 tonnes up on last year".
She said they had 10 different varieties of apricots which would be picked over the next two months with most to be exported, mainly to Australia, but also to Europe and the United States.
Otago Regional Fruitgrowers' Committee chairman and Cromwell grower John Webb said he was expecting to pick some fruit tomorrow, but the bulk of his crop would be harvested in January.
Summerfruit New Zealand chairman and Roxburgh grower Gary Bennetts said there appeared to be a good amount of fruit on the trees around Central Otago and the spring rains were late enough so as not to have damaged it.
According to the Summerfruit New Zealand website, 70% of summerfruit grown in New Zealand is consumed on the domestic market but Mr Bennetts said the Central Otago export market was growing rapidly.