About Zespri

Our GRowers

― Award-winning sustainable farming

Mark and Catriona White's BioGro certified orchard encompasses 3.19 ha of Zespri Organic Green kiwifruit and 2.65 ha of Zespri Organic SunGold (G3) fruit. Based near Opotiki, the orchardists collected the sustainable farming and growing national ambassador prize at the 2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Wellington.

― Zespri growers: How we grow our fruit

Zespri growers now number just over 2,500 in New Zealand, over 150 in Italy, 800 in Japan, 130 in Korea and around 50 in France.

The majority of Zespri kiwifruit comes from New Zealand where the growers harvest around 3.7 billion kiwifruits per year with 12,000 hectares in production


Kiwifruit grows on the branches of bushes, which can be compared to grapevine tendrils. But they only grow in ideal conditions: fertile, moist and slightly acidic soil, a sunny climate and not too much wind. So you can’t just plant a orchard anywhere. You need expertise and experience, and the conditions have to be favourable.

Zespri kiwifruit grows in carefully selected orchards. The growers plant the young bushes in rows five to six metres apart. The result of their work is not immediately forthcoming, since up to five years’ intensive care is needed before the plants produce enough fruit for sale.


― The kiwifruit cultivation cycle

Plentiful sunshine, rain and just the right amount of chill in the winter create an ideal climate for growing kiwifruit

In New Zealand, the growing season for this fruit is long: up to 240 days a year.


WINTER Pruning WINTER Flowers & Bees Bud bursts SPRING SPRING Pruning Fruit thinning SUMMER SUMMER Testing maturity Testing maturity Picking AUTUMN AUTUMN CULTIVATIONCYCLE

— June to August

The New Zealand kiwifruit season begins with vine pruning in winter, which immediately follows the previous year’s harvest.  During the winter months the vines lay dormant, allowing growers the opportunity to remove last season’s fruiting canes and to select and tie down new canes, which form the foundations for new growth.


— September to November

Springtime sees the kiwifruit vines begin to grow again. New shoots appear on the canes along with the first flower buds.
With the help of bees, kiwifruit flowers are pollinated between mid-September to mid-November. The vines then begin to fruit with the pollinated flowers transforming themselves into small berries.


— Decembre to February

Kiwifruit vines undergo tremendous growth and growers frequently prune the vines to direct growth and manage the canopy (the canes can sometimes reach up to 5 - 6 metres in length during the growing process). The fruit grow quickly during the summer months. Kiwifruit crop volume can be estimated at this time and the kiwifruit selectively thinned to optimise fruit size.


— March to May

As the weather cools in the New Zealand autumn, harvest time approaches. The kiwifruit are tested for ripeness. When they reach the necessary quality and grade criteria, the kiwifruit are carefully picked by a huge team of workers (many who come from overseas to assist). Once the kiwifruit have been picked, they are transported to the packhouse to be packed and stored ready for shipping and export. As the winter approaches, the leaves drop from the vines, signalling the end of another growing year. The vines move towards a dormant state and await the coming of spring.


Meet Our growers