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More than one tonne of hail was cut free from a section of netting at The Peach Farm after the property was hit by a large storm in late October. Image: Contributed.

Peach Farm hit by tonnes of hail

Emma Pritchard

 
It was less than two minutes from start to finish.
But it was enough to destroy several fruit trees and damage between $16,000 – $20,000 worth of delicious, fresh produce which was ready to be picked.
The ferocious hailstorm which roared across popular Mororo attraction The Peach Farm on October 31 was unlike anything property owners the Camerons had ever seen.
Describing the freak event as “crazy, fast and furious”, Edwina Cameron recalls a shower of light rain falling, then a brief break in the weather, before the sky suddenly unleashed wave after wave of heavy rain and hail without warning.
The volume of hail which fell was so heavy, large sections of netting which hung protectively over the fruit trees sank to the ground under the weight as more and more ice plummeted from above.
So heavily compacted was the hail, the last pieces only melted on the Monday afternoon, 48 hours after the storm passed and the netting had to be cut in some places to release the trapped hail stones which Mrs Cameron said were the size of “half a golf ball.”
Mrs Cameron added she is currently unsure of the full costs to replace the netting.
But despite the bent and broken fruit trees, the ruined netting and the ongoing repair work, the Camerons refused to allow their spirits to be broken.
Salvaging what they could of the remaining crop, Mrs Cameron said “about a tonne” of hail damaged fruit was sent to artesian food manufacturing business The Other Chef in Port Macquarie to be made into jams and chutneys.
The remaining fruit is being sold for $1 per kilo to members of the public.
“So many people have been coming out to buy the damaged fruit,” Mrs Cameron said, adding most of the fruit has punctured skin and bruising from the hail stones.
“People are buying the fruit to either eat or cook and it’s really nice to know that it’s not being wasted.”
Mrs Cameron said despite the loss of so much fruit, the damage could have been a lot worse with the solar panels on the on-site café left unscathed and resident animals including several sheep, four kelpies, three alpacas, geese and a large brood of chickens safely finding shelter.
Since reopening The Peach Farm to visitors following the hailstorm, Mrs Cameron said the community support has been amazing.
“We’ve had so many offers of help, really kind and caring comments and a lot of people feeling for us,” she said.
“After the storm neighbours rushed over and helped us and rallied around us and it’s just made everything so much better.
“So many people love what we do on our farm and it’s such a popular place.”
The Peach Farm still has fruit available for sale and is looking forward to welcoming more visitors through the gates.
They are open every day except Wednesday between 9am – 2pm.

The protective nets which hang over the fruit trees at The Peach Farm were heavily weighed down following a severe hailstorm on October 31. Image: Contributed.
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