Altogether a wide selection of produce, consisting of 38 different fruits and 55 different vegetables, are grown for commercial use in New South Wales.
Apart from processing tomatoes and wine grapes, which are the main fruit grown entirely for processing, the following wide selection of fruit and vegetables is grown for sale in NSW.
Fruit Grown in NSW
Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, carambola, cherries, custard apples, feijoa, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, longan, lychee, mandarins, mangoes, nashi fruit, nectarines, oranges, passionfruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, rock melons, rosellas, sapodilla, sapote, strawberries, tamarillos, tangelo, and watermelon.
Vegetables Grown in NSW
Alfalfa sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beetroot, bok choy, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chilli, chinese cabbage, choi sum, choko, cucumbers, curry leaves, egg plant, endive, fennel, gai lum, hairy melon, hin choi, kaffir lime leaves, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, marrows, meloukhia, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, shallot, sin-qua/luffa, snake beans, snow peas, spinach, spring onions, squash, swedes, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, white radish, yam, and zucchini.
Grapes are still grown for three purposes in NSW: table grapes, dried fruit (raisins and sultanas) and for wine. Each purpose uses separate varieties and different forms of trellising. Grapes for dried fruit were formerly grown extensively in the Murray Valley, but have been largely displaced by wine grapes, following the scrapping of tariffs on imported fruit and increase in wine production. The 1996 production of grapes for drying was 45,000 tonnes, and of wine grapes 159,000 tonnes. In 2008 there were only 9,000 tonnes of grapes for drying and wine grape production had soared to 535,000 tonnes.
Table grapes are mostly grown in inland irrigation areas, where warmth and sunshine produce sweetness in the fruit. Table grapes are now available in Australia almost year round with fruit maturing in different places at different times. In NSW this cycle begins in Menindee and Bourke in December and then from the Murray Valley in January and February.
|Murray Valley and Riverina||422,000|
|Orange, Mudgee, Cowra||63,600|
|Canberra and SW slopes||15,400|
|South and mid north Coast||1,700|
Citrus fruit grown in NSW include navel and Valencia oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes and mandarins but oranges are by far the most dominant in quantity. In 2006 NSW produced 245,000 tonnes of oranges and only 20,000 tonnes of other citrus fruits (lemons, mandarins and grapefruit).
Early citrus planting in NSW was in the Hawkesbury Valley, and the Central Coast hinterland, for proximity to the Sydney fruit market. Citrus has also been grown in the the Riverina since the 1930s and the Murray Valley since 1900 when Mildura Irrigation was established. Since the 1970s an increasing proportion of oranges have come from the Riverina, which now dominates production in NSW. Production on the Central Coast has declined as land is competing with urban expansion.
The two main varieties of oranges grown in Australia are navels and Valencia. Navel oranges are a superior table fruit and Valencia oranges are good juicing fruit. These varieties also have complementary seasons – navels produce in May to October and Valencia from August to April. Twenty years ago, the juice market was stronger than the fresh fruit market, and Valencias dominated. Today imported juice concentrate has shrunk the market for juicing fruit and many Valencias have been replaced with navels.
|Navel orange trees||961,000||2,286,000|
|Valencia orange trees||2,007,000||2,136,000|
The first orchards were planted in the Blue Mountains around Bilpin. Production spread to the Central Tablelands, Batlow, and to the Northern Tablelands, particularly around Tenterfield. Batlow is now the main production area:
|Batlow and Tumbarumb||256,733||25%||904,842||48%|
Apple production in NSW has remained steady for many years, around 60,000 tonnes per year, second to Victoria, but recent years have shown a decline to under 50,000 tonnes. The domestic market for fresh fruit is mature and steady, even declining with the range of other fresh fruit which have become available. Export markets have fallen, and in 2005 Australia exported only 13,500 tonnes, 33% of which went to India.
The apple juice market has also fallen. Apple juice manufacture was formerly a significant outlet for second grade fruit, but concentrated juice is now imported from China, in increasing quantities, and this has caused the amount of the Australian crop that is juiced to fall from 88,000 tonnes in 1991 to 34,000 tonnes in 2006.
Bananas are grown on the North Coast of NSW, from Murwillumbah south to Macksville. The banana industry in NSW started in the 1900s in the Tweed valley to create a reliable fruit supply to the Sydney and Melbourne markets. Banana transport was then by rail and the transport time from northern NSW to Melbourne was as long as could be tolerated without refrigeration. The NSW industry has declined since the 1960s as road transport became more efficient enabling Queensland to supply NSW markets. The NSW banana crop has decreased from 3,000 ha in 1998 to 1,600 ha in 2008.
Most NSW cherries are grown in the Young and the Orange areas, which together produce 43% of the Australian crop. The season starts in Young in September, and continues to January, with different varieties maturing at different times. Spring ripening has its hazards, as hail and spring showers can occur at the wrong time, with some farmers losing their whole harvest.
Potatoes are the second vegetable crop in New South Wales by value (mushrooms are worth more), producing 131,000 tonnes, worth $50 million in 2006. New South Wales grows 12% of the Australian potato crop. Potatoes are grown for fresh sale and for processing (chips, crisps etc) with 73,000 tonnes of the 2006 crop sold fresh.
Potatoes are traditionally grown in highland and tableland locations near Robertson, Crookwell, Dorrigo and Guyra. Since the 1970s, the bulk of the crop comes from the irrigation areas of the Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray near Hillston, Narrandera, Finley and Berrigan. Three crops a year are grown on large-scale irrigation farms located on the sandy and sandy loam soils.
|Tablelands – Orange, Blayney, Crookwell||7,400||5.83%||600||0.46%|
Tomatoes are grown in NSW for fresh supply and for processing. Processing tomatoes are grown principally in the Finley and Berrigan areas which are close to the major processing plants in northern Victoria.
Fresh tomatoes in NSW are grown both in the field and in greenhouses. Greenhouse production is increasing, although 75% of fresh tomatoes are still field grown.
Production of field tomatoes in NSW has decreased from 2,200 ha in 1972 to just 440 ha in 2008. Originally tomatoes were grown close to population centres as they were soft and did not travel well. In the 1980s firm varieties of tomato were developed which enabled farms in Queensland, particularly near Bowen, to supply all urban centres by road.
Greenhouse production in NSW has developed quickly during the last ten years, as the product is preferred by the consumer (truss tomatoes). NSW now has 58ha under glass mostly in the Sydney basin (80%), in the Hawkesbury valley and on the Central Coast.
Lettuces – both iceberg and “fancy” lettuce are grown in NSW. Fifty percent of iceberg lettuces are produced under irrigation around Hay on the Murrumbidgee, 75% of “fancy” lettuces are grown in the Sydney basin, much of it under cover by hydroponic production.
Onions – NSW only grows 7% of the onions produced in Australia, with Tasmania and South Australia producing two thirds of the national production. Most of the onions grown in NSW are grown under irrigation in the Riverina around Griffith.
Asian vegetables – these are grouped, as data is collected for this group which includes Asian greens, Chinese cabbage, hairy melons, luffa, snake beans, chillies and herbs and they are mostly grown in the Sydney basin. By value, Asian vegetables are the third most valuable (2008) vegetable produced in NSW for the fresh market ($36m) after tomatoes and mushrooms, and more than potatoes for the fresh market ($28m).. in the Sydney basin. By value, Asian vegetables are the third most valuable (2008) vegetable produced in NSW for the fresh market ($36m) after tomatoes and mushrooms, and more than potatoes for the fresh market ($28m).
Tony Moody, Industry and Investment NSW