Grand passion: bumper crop leads to glut
This winter is set to bring an abundance of passionfruit, with our growers currently harvesting a record-breaking crop that has led to a glut of passionfruit hitting our stores.
Typically, December to January is the peak time for passionfruit, but the unusual weather patterns we’ve seen of late have caused passionfruit growing regions to synchronise in their growing cycles, with all producing very large quantities all at once.
All four major growing regions have experienced superb weather conditions for their winter crops, with warm, dry sunny days and light showers suiting the plants well, leading to an absolute bounty of the sweet, zesty fruit.
This is a big bounce back from a tough 2019 season, where last year’s drought, excessive rain and hail wiped out much of the summer crops. With last summer’s crop at about half the usual volume, the vines have a lot of unspent energy that they’re now turning into perfect fruit – literally by the truckload.
“It’s a tsunami situation,” says Jane Richter, Vice President of Passionfruit Australia and a passionfruit grower in the Glasshouse Mountains in South East Queensland. “In fact, this winter season is shaping up to be one of the biggest seasons on record.”
Australian passionfruit is available year-round, but there are two key “flushes” throughout the year – in summer and in winter.
“People often don’t realise passionfruit has a flush in winter as it’s more commonly associated with summer,” Richter says. “But we’re lucky in Australia to have an excellent range of climates to grow all kinds of tropical fruit. Even when the south of the country is in the grips of winter, it’s balmy and beautiful in Queensland, where passionfruit thrive.”
Something else you might not know about passionfruit is that the fruit’s growth is influenced by the cycles of the moon.
“Last week we had a full moon, and that’s had a tremendous impact on the amount of passionfruit that’s coming off the vine right now,” Richter says.
To handle the overflow of fruit, Passionfruit Australia is encouraging supermarkets to more than halve the price of passionfruit, to give consumers an incentive to buy them.
“This will help us move the mass amount of produce we have coming through at the moment,” Richter says. “Otherwise we risk all of this beautiful fruit going to waste, and all of our hard work going down the drain.”
Four out of five Australian households currently don’t eat passionfruit, so if you’re in that number, now this is the perfect time to start enjoying this tropical treat, which can add a splash of summery colour and zest to these dreary winter months.
“It’s such a flavoursome fruit that can make a big difference to the taste of any dish,” Richter says. “The sweet and tangy flavour is so unique and goes with so many things.
“We need Aussies to get out there and rediscover passionfruit to help support our hardworking Australian growers!”
For inspiration on how you can make the most of our passionfruit bounty, head to aussiepassionfruit.com.au