Students Adele Walker, left, and Sonja Walsh with some boysenberries they picked working at Berrylands on the Appleby Highway last week. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Fresh berries at their best for summer

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A mild winter and warm sunny spring and early summer have given berry growers around the Tasman district a perfect start to the season.

“We are just starting but it’s looking really good,” Wai-west Horticulture operations general manger Alan Dobbie said last week. “The fruit are big and the brix (sugar levels) are high.”

Wai-West grows 40 hectares of boysenberries on the Waimea Plains and Alan says they expect to be harvesting through until January 15.

Berrylands Peter and Steph Kristofski are also enjoying a flying start to the season which Peter says started about 10 days earlier than usual.

“We had a mild winter and spring temperatures were up so we kicked off really early.”

The good start to the season has also been good news for students around the district with Berrylands employing 30 to 50 casual staff to pick and pack the berries.

However, both Alan and Peter say there is a long way to go before the season ends and they are hoping the sun keeps shining. “You can’t count your berries until they are in the box,” Alan says.