Victorian consumers are feeling the pinch of a haphazard summer in the price of lemons, avocados and stone fruit. Photo: Eddie Jim
Victoria's lack of warm weather is not only wreaking havoc with holidaymakers but it is also costing consumers at the checkout.
Fruit and vegetable wholesalers say the late summer has forced up the prices of much popular produce, including watermelons, rockmelons, lemons and stone fruit.
The price of avocados is also unusually high due to a lack of supply from West Australian growers, with consumers paying as much as $4.99 an avocado.
Daniel D'Andrea, from fruit and vegetable wholesaler Rocky's, says Victoria's late summer means demand for certain fruits has far outweighed supply. He says lemons are particularly pricey - up to $1.70 each for imported US lemons while local growers eagerly wait for summer ripening to arrive.
Mr D'Andrea says the state's cool weather in the lead-up to Christmas also drove up prices for watermelons and rockmelons to near-record highs over the peak holiday season.
Prior to Christmas, wholesale prices for watermelons reached $1.90 a kilogram and up to $30 a box for rockmelons. He says the prices are slowly dropping as the ''local supply is just starting to come through''.
He also expects prices for stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines and apricots to fall.
Aussie Farmers Direct national fruit and vegetable manager, Andrew Fletcher, says bananas were the bargain fruit of the season.
''Demand for bananas are generally poor anyway at this time of year … At the same time there has been an overproduction of bananas. So they have been extremely cheap.''