A few weeks ago, the Australian Capital Territory’s apple market was closed for good.
The market had been shut for a year following the coronavirus pandemic, and it had to be relocated after more than 2,000 trees fell in a single season.
“We’re now getting the fruit from different parts of the state, and we’re also growing apples at the same time,” said Andrew Prentice, the manager of a small family business in the city’s south-east.
Prentice said he was hoping to reopen the market in the summer.
“There’s no way we’re going to do it in the first year, so I’m going to keep trying,” he said.
But, like many businesses in the NT, the apple-growing operation has had to take a hit.
Pryce has lost a significant amount of money on the business.
“A lot of the trees we lost had been in the field for a couple of years,” he told ABC News.
The apple market has reopened to its normal operation, but there are some concerns the apple growers could be struggling to make ends meet as the virus attacks the region. “
I can’t go to work, because I don’t know what I’m doing.”
The apple market has reopened to its normal operation, but there are some concerns the apple growers could be struggling to make ends meet as the virus attacks the region.
“They are really struggling because of the pandemic,” said Prentice.
“The market is the most profitable part of the business, but it’s also one of the hardest to manage.”
For a business that has had a relatively small number of employees, it’s a tough time.
The apple-processing operation has struggled to find work since the virus shut down the apple market, and Prentice is struggling to keep up.
“It’s hard to make the money, it takes a lot of time, and a lot can go wrong,” he added.
“If we’re doing it right, we should be able to sustain it.
But right now we’re not.”
It’s the same for the farm where the business is based.
“You have to make sure you keep the doors locked because of security issues, and there’s security guards everywhere,” said Matthew Pryce.
The owner of the farm, Matthew Pacey, says his business is struggling with the coronivirus.
“Every time we have a customer come in, there’s someone in the store who has a virus and needs to see somebody,” he explained.
“Some people are scared to go into the market, because of people being infected.”
If it was a normal situation, we’d be out of business.
“This is the hardest time of our lives. “
Because of the virus, we haven’t had any money for the next two months,” he recounted.
“This is the hardest time of our lives.
We’ve got nothing to pay our bills.”
Despite being closed for almost a year, the market has been able to reopen to normal operations.
“What’s happened with the virus is that we’re able to keep doing the business that we have now,” said Mr Pitzer.
“People come in every week, they buy the products, and they buy more and more.”
The markets owners hope to continue growing the business through the end of the year, but the strain on the apple farmers is evident.
“All of our customers are now getting sick, and the market is getting very crowded, and people are getting really sick,” said Mark Pitzer of the fruit-processing business.
For now, the owners hope their customers are safe.
“That’s really what we’re worried about, is the safety of our people,” he admitted.
“Even if we do get the virus we’re still getting the customers.”