Daniella Scotti’s family have been growing stone fruit in Glenorie for more than 30 years. Daniella shares with the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News her family’s challenges with this year’s crop, particularly on the back of the ongoing excessive rain.
Tony and Lucia Scotti (pictured below) represent a shrinking number of farmers across the Hills and Hornsby Districts.
The pair say the past few months have been challenging, as this year’s excessive rain has spoiled much of their harvest.
“We have lost about 25% of our crop, trees have been wiped out, unable to cope with the wet weather and cold conditions,” Tony said.
However, the second-generation farmer isn’t turning his back on the land just yet. And he concedes this year’s weather has been particularly unseasonal.
“I haven’t seen a wet year like this in decades. We put in the work year-round and to see the tree go backward, collapse and die, you know you are losing money – it’s hard.”
Consumers are likely to feel the effects with much-loved summer fruits set to be scarce on supermarket shelves. “Cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines will be in short supply over the Christmas period, consumers are going to pay more,” Tony explained.
“Some of the traditional stone fruit-growing areas such as Forbes in the Central West and Shepparton and Cobram in Victoria have been hit hard with floods, which will impact supply hugely.”
As many grapple with the cost of living, so too are primary producers.
“Our costs as growers have spiked – cartons, fuels, sprays, fertiliser and electricity prices have jumped significantly. It almost feels like no one is winning,” Lucia said.
The family business was founded by Tony’s dad Nicola Scotti, who migrated to Sydney from Italy in the late 1950s. For him, life on the farm was a retreat from the unfamiliarity of Australia – and a symbol of the homeland.
Like many farmers in the Sydney basin, the Scotti’s fruit is carted to Sydney markets, with Tony making several trips a week. The family also welcome locals to their packing shed in Glenorie.
“There are plenty of friendly faces stopping by our shed, picking up fruit that has only just come off the tree,” Lucia said.
The season has a few weeks left before the Scotti farm wraps up. The family remain optimistic for the next season. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/scottiproduce/