Supermarkets have been accused of squeezing growers dry even as the stores put tasteless apples on the shelves.
"The prices that growers receive have been suppressed," Jeremy Griffith of the National Farmers Federation horticultural section told The Canberra Times.
He said Woolworths and Coles had 65 per cent of the market so "if you are a grower of any size in this country, you are obliged to sell your product to the supermarkets".
He said the power of the supermarkets was all the greater because apples were perishable. Growers had to sell at the price demanded or lose all the load.
The fruit industry's accusation came as the apple-picking season opened in Canberra. The big Tanbella Orchard opened its doors to the public to pick their own fruit on Friday.
As it prepared to open, the orchard's Francesca Bleeker said what appeared to be fresh on supermarket shelves was far from freshly-picked.
"The way that apples are stored for retail means that more often than not the apple that you are eating off a shelf is at least 12 months, if not 18 months old," she said.
"They are stored in carbon dioxide to stop them oxidising, and it does mean that an apple in a shop is not necessarily fresh."
There is currently a raft of enquiries looking at supermarkets, probably the most important of which is one by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Prime Minister directed the ACCC "to investigate pricing and competition in the supermarket sector to ensure Australians were paying a fair price for their groceries"
Mr Albanese said Australians were "under the pump and the cost of groceries was among the biggest concern for many".
The paradox was supermarket apples were often cheaper than those bought off the tree at the orchard but somehow worse in taste, orchard growers said.
Tanbella Orchard owner Christine Reid shuns supermarket apples. She only eats apples in the right season, which starts now and pretty well ends with the frost.
"They finish in June so everything you're eating after June is stored so it's going to be completely compromised," she said.
Orchard worker Francesca Bleeker said straight-off-the-tree apples lasted longer.
"When you pick it straight from the tree, you can sit it on your bench for three or four weeks without noticing any real deterioration in the fruit," she said.
Tanbella Orchard grows 68 varieties of apples. Some, like Gala, ripen early so they are sweet at the moment. Others take longer.
The same variety will taste differently as the season progresses.
Entry to the orchard in Pialligo costs $8 and then $7 for every kilogram picked and taken away. The more you pick, the cheaper they get.
But they still don't come down as low as most big store prices. Supermarkets at the moment usually charge under $5 a kilo, though the price creeps up to $7.80 a kilo for organic apples.
Some of the varieties at Tanbella Orchard are already very good to eat.
"Gala is the first one to step out," Francesca Bleeker said.
"It's crisp and sweet. How a Gala tastes this week isn't how a Gala will taste in a week. The longer they are on the tree, the sweeter they get."