Strawberry prices soar at Christmas

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2013
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Berries are a yuletide staple in New Zealand - but as prices rise ahead of Christmas, shoppers may find themselves in a jam.

While strawberries sold for as little as $1 a punnet earlier in the season, Canterbury residents out for a berry good deal for the topping of their Christmas pavlova may be disappointed.

The Press canvassed supermarkets and fruit shops yesterday to find the average price and where to get the best deals.

On average, Canterbury cherries were now $19.70 a kilogram, while a standard punnet of strawberries would set you back $3.60 and a 150-gram punnet of raspberries $5.80.

Growers Direct Market in Upper Riccarton boasted strawberries at $2.99 while most supermarkets were selling them for $3.49 or $3.99.

Raspberries were $4.99 a 150g punnet at Pak 'n Save, Countdown and New World, but Gordon Smith & Sons in Victoria St was selling them at a steep $7.99.

Cherries were cheapest at New World, for $18.74 a kilogram.

Pataka Berry Farm and Pottery owner Ian Johnston said prices were driven by "supply and demand through wholesale outlets".

He had been selling punnets of strawberries to supermarkets for $1.80 a punnet earlier last week but by the end they were commanding $4 a punnet.

Prices earlier in the season were largely dictated by strawberries being imported from North Island growers, but these were "never as good as Canterbury strawberries".

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- The Press

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