― 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.