This crop of feijoas ‘the biggest yet’

And the season is not over yet!

And the season is not over yet!

There are big feijoas in Mike and Lilia Mills’ feijoa orchard at Bushmere this year. Lilia is holding the 325-gram fruit. Last year they grew one that weighed 360 grams — “but the season is not over yet . . . we might get a bigger one.” Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

After worries that the dry summer would impact on this year’s feijoa crop, Gisborne growers have enjoyed the biggest crop yet.

Bushmere Road growers Mike and Lilia Mills say 2018 turned out to be their most steady and biggest crop yet.

They have produced some of the biggest feijoas in the district — one weighing in at 325 grams when The Herald called and, since then, an even bigger one weighing 330 gm.

The Mills first planted feijoas in 2002 over 0.75 of a hectare. They also have apples leased on their land.

Mike Mills says they are a great crop to grow but are a lot of work.

“The picking and packing is over a short period of time. It is the pruning that takes a lot of work.”

They grow six varieties to cover all the season and this year got their first load to the market on March 12.

“It was a very early start to the season. I don’t think we have ever started in March.”

They grade and pack the fruit themselves and sell their fruit through Turners and Growers for the local market.

Mr Mills said prices overall this year were about the same as last year.

Early and late season fruit get the best money.

Growing feijoas commercially has been a huge learning curve, Mike says.

“We have nets under the trees to stop bruising and keep the fruit clean, and it is also not so far for us to reach down to pick them.”

They were pruned to take the nets but on reflection Mr Mills said they could have been higher.

“It has all been a learning curve. The ones we have planted later have higher nets.

Although they are not certified organic, they are organically grown, he said.

“So no sprays. We do use a little bit of spray for weed control but nothing on the fruit.”

This year he will send 6.5 tonnes to market. Any fruit that does not make the grade goes to a pig farmer.

A popular fruit in Gisborne’s back gardens, he says people planting a tree should know whether they want early, mid-season or late fruit before they go to buy a tree.

“Get on Google and see what variety is best for what you want.”

  • These feijoas are still smaller than the biggest they grew last year (360g). In 2016, the biggest one we heard about was 340gm.

After worries that the dry summer would impact on this year’s feijoa crop, Gisborne growers have enjoyed the biggest crop yet.

Bushmere Road growers Mike and Lilia Mills say 2018 turned out to be their most steady and biggest crop yet.

They have produced some of the biggest feijoas in the district — one weighing in at 325 grams when The Herald called and, since then, an even bigger one weighing 330 gm.

The Mills first planted feijoas in 2002 over 0.75 of a hectare. They also have apples leased on their land.

Mike Mills says they are a great crop to grow but are a lot of work.

“The picking and packing is over a short period of time. It is the pruning that takes a lot of work.”

They grow six varieties to cover all the season and this year got their first load to the market on March 12.

“It was a very early start to the season. I don’t think we have ever started in March.”

They grade and pack the fruit themselves and sell their fruit through Turners and Growers for the local market.

Mr Mills said prices overall this year were about the same as last year.

Early and late season fruit get the best money.

Growing feijoas commercially has been a huge learning curve, Mike says.

“We have nets under the trees to stop bruising and keep the fruit clean, and it is also not so far for us to reach down to pick them.”

They were pruned to take the nets but on reflection Mr Mills said they could have been higher.

“It has all been a learning curve. The ones we have planted later have higher nets.

Although they are not certified organic, they are organically grown, he said.

“So no sprays. We do use a little bit of spray for weed control but nothing on the fruit.”

This year he will send 6.5 tonnes to market. Any fruit that does not make the grade goes to a pig farmer.

A popular fruit in Gisborne’s back gardens, he says people planting a tree should know whether they want early, mid-season or late fruit before they go to buy a tree.

“Get on Google and see what variety is best for what you want.”

  • These feijoas are still smaller than the biggest they grew last year (360g). In 2016, the biggest one we heard about was 340gm.
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