What’s growing and slowing in January 2023?
I will begin with a blanket disclaimer, this is not an average year, last year was not an average year. We have had around 18 months of unseasonal weather and it is playing havoc. Farmers are dealing with much cooler temperatures and much more rain than normal; and they are still dealing with critical staff shortages.
Cherries started late December out of one region only, Young in NSW. The Tasmanian cherry season is pretty much a write off, South Australian cherries missed Christmas and will start early January.
Mangoes, are the good news story for fruits this January, it has been a record season. Expect good supply, great quality and low prices.
Nectarines, peaches and plums started late, with little to no crops. Some growers are reporting up to 60% loss on already reduced yields. 2023 is a terrible year for stone fruit. North Queensland fruit is holding up pretty well, and we are seeing good stocks of red papaya, rockmelon and honeydew. Dragonfruit, lychee’s and other tropicals will make an appearance.
Grapes have had a late start, but should be on in the first week of January. Apples are still in good supply, but they are coming out of storage. New season apples will start around Australia Day, as will new season pears.
Traditionally, grapefruit, lemons and limes get short at this time of year.
Short story, veggies for January won’t be great and they will be expensive. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and celery will be available, but supply will be patchy. Farmers can’t work the ground if its too wet, hence planting windows were missed or delayed. I know of at least one grower who missed his carrot planting all together because the ground was too wet.
The quality of salad vegetables has been impacted by the wet, cold weather. Things like spinach and rocket are prone to mildew outbreaks in these conditions. Bunched lines like kale and silverbeet were short due to the conditions, but then made impossible by the lack of work force to harvest and bunch them.
NB: The Spinach recall was not on Organic Spinach, but it has impacted Organic Spinach sales considerably. Support the organic farmers and do yourself a favour, buy Certified Organic Spinach.
The good news is that things will improve as the month progresses and gets warmer and drier. South Australian celery is ready to go and will be plentiful and then patchy. I think the theme for the 2023 growing season will be “patchy”. Tasmanian carrots and brassicas have started and will continue to improve as the month goes on. Victorian growers have been challenged by record rain, their yields and quality will be down and their season later.
Traditionally the vegetables that are in full supply during January are as follows: asparagus, beetroot, green beans, cucumbers, capsicum, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, onions, potatoes and pumpkin.
Lines that are traditionally short in January are: silverbeet, sweet potato, celery, cauliflower, Chinese veg, broccoli and cabbage.
Note, these lines will all be available but at Summer Prices.
Granted, 2023 will kick off as a difficult year for our producers. But they will still be plenty to choose from, at reasonable prices and quality.
Remember to eat all of your colours and have a great New Year.
The Team at United Organics
Image: The Diggers Club