Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Cherry Season Launch

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:48): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister please inform the chamber about the launch of the cherry season at the SA Produce Market this morning?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:48): I thank the honourable member for his question. I am absolutely delighted to be able to inform the chamber about the launch today. It was really an honour to be at the South Australian Produce Market early this morning to play a small part in the annual cherry season launch, which was headlined by the auctioning of the season's first box of cherries, with the winning bid going on to become cherry king or queen.

I am very pleased to say that this year's winning bidder, and our new cherry king, is Joe Giangregorio—also known sometimes as the lettuce king—of Rainbow Fresh, who won with an incredible $50,000 bid, with the proceeds going to the Leukaemia Foundation. The winning bid works out to be $10,000 per kilo of incredible Cotsaris cherries that Joe has purchased.

Tim Murphy, the Leukaemia Foundation's General Manager of Blood Cancer Partnerships, said that the auction and its winning $50,000 bid will make a real difference to supporting the 135,000 Australians living with blood cancer today. On that, I would also like to give a big callout to the incredibly brave little Arlo and his mum and grandad, who I spoke with this morning.

Tim, from the Leukaemia Foundation, went on to keep us entertained with a pun masterclass, saying he was delighted that the SA Produce Market had made the Leukaemia Foundation their 'cherryty' of choice, thanked the bidders for their 'cherryosity', and on social media afterwards stated that the Leukaemia Foundation would 'cherryish' this moment—some light-hearted fun from Tim on what was truly a very significant occasion for the foundation.

The event really is such a great way of kicking off the cherry season and, by extension, the festive season, in which cherries have a special place in many South Australian households. South Australia's cherries are some of the best in the country and their production is an important contributor to our state's economy. I am advised that in 2020-21 cherry production contributed over $27 million, and in that year cherry exports from the state doubled.

South Australia's growers have a significant part in Australia's fresh cherry production, contributing 16 per cent of the nation's fresh cherry production over the past five years. This year's season, albeit starting a little later due to the cold snaps the state has experienced recently, is hoped to be a bumper one, with a possible peak of the season being closer to when we enjoy our Christmas feasts, long holiday lunches and dinners, and time spent with our families. Many will look forward to centrepiece bowls of glossy local cherries that will no doubt be a favourite in many South Australian homes.

I also take this opportunity to encourage all South Australians to support locally grown produce, by looking for the Pick a Local, Pick SA! sign at their independent fruit and vegetable retailers right around the state so that we can all continue to support our own local businesses, which has never been more important.

It was a real pleasure to meet and speak with Joe, the new cherry king. I saw a wonderful post on the Rainbow Fresh Facebook page a little bit earlier that simply said, 'At 84 years old, and after decades of hard work in the fresh produce industry, Joe says, "It's time to give back."' What a wonderful sentiment from our new cherry king, leading us into the new season.