Envy plantings hold promise

Revival has ‘huge potential’ for district.

Revival has ‘huge potential’ for district.

GOOD GROWING: Tim and Natalya Egan from Illawara who won the T&G Gisborne Grower of the Year Cup last night. Pictures supplied
Tim and Natalya Egan are pictured here at the awards ceremony with T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe.

A massive expansion programme driven by one of New Zealand’s largest exporters of apples promises to bring the region a $15.5 million annual boost.

T&G Global this week celebrates the 10th anniversary of the first Envy apple tree in Gisborne.

Starting with just three Envy growers (Illawara, Kaiponi and the Burnside Trust) in 2009, there are now 12 growing partners in the region, growing the internationally popular, premium red apple.

This spring, 20,000 Envy apple trees are being planted across the Gisborne region, meaning the district will produce around half a million cartons by 2026, and T&G Global predicts that would bring a potential $15.5 million-a-year gain for Gisborne,

T&G Global New Zealand supply manager Ivan Angland said Gisborne’s fertile soils and early access to the global markets were an advantage. A significant number of growers in the region, previously involved in grapes and citrus, have moved over to apples, due to the export potential for the premium varieties.

“Geographically, Gisborne is well suited for early supply (March and April) and the district is aligning itself for long-term supply with strategic partners.”

The massive planting programme was started on the back of significantly higher demands for the apple, particularly in Asian and US markets.

Mr Angland said American consumers had picked Envy as their favourite apple over the past few years (US Apple Association) and this year it was named the most preferred apple based on taste, texture and appearance, in independent consumer research conducted in the US.

“The revival of the apple industry is very exciting for the district. The potential is huge.”

Local post-harvest facilities are excellent with Kaiaponi Farms investing in coolstores and packhouse equipment to prepare for future growth.

One of the first growers to have planted Envy, Tim Egan was on Thursday, along with wife Natalya, presented with T&G Gisborne Grower of the Year Cup.

Looking back over the past 10 years Mr Egan said the takeover of T&G by BayWa was a pivotal moment for the Gisborne industry because of the focus on quality and the grower’s ability to match apple supply with global demand, year round.

Mr Egan now has 12 ha of Envy apple trees on his Illawara orchard, along with about 6ha of Jazz variety.

He also invested more than $100,000 into a new motorised apple picking platform that allows workers to pick at three levels while an observer looks at quality control.

He said that was because the focus now was on presenting the “perfect eating apple” rather than the perfect coloured apple.

“What’s actually developed is a really strong relationship with T&G Pipfruit. The benefit for us is we are making really good money out of it and that provides confidence to invest. That turns into employment and we can pay people good money.”

Mr Egan said that made the business more sustainable.

“If you are profitable, you can invest in machinery, you can invest in people and training and we can develop — we are putting in another block of apples and kiwifruit, at the moment.”

T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said there would also be downstream benefits for the region.

“It’s not just on-orchard, it’s post-harvest. You have to have the packing facilities and post-harvest facilities to deal with what comes out of the orchard.”

The company also worked with the Ministry of Social development to provide pastoral support and pathways back to employment for people.

Mr Edgecombe said with new plantings in Gisborne there would be further growth to come for the industry here.

A massive expansion programme driven by one of New Zealand’s largest exporters of apples promises to bring the region a $15.5 million annual boost.

T&G Global this week celebrates the 10th anniversary of the first Envy apple tree in Gisborne.

Starting with just three Envy growers (Illawara, Kaiponi and the Burnside Trust) in 2009, there are now 12 growing partners in the region, growing the internationally popular, premium red apple.

This spring, 20,000 Envy apple trees are being planted across the Gisborne region, meaning the district will produce around half a million cartons by 2026, and T&G Global predicts that would bring a potential $15.5 million-a-year gain for Gisborne,

T&G Global New Zealand supply manager Ivan Angland said Gisborne’s fertile soils and early access to the global markets were an advantage. A significant number of growers in the region, previously involved in grapes and citrus, have moved over to apples, due to the export potential for the premium varieties.

“Geographically, Gisborne is well suited for early supply (March and April) and the district is aligning itself for long-term supply with strategic partners.”

The massive planting programme was started on the back of significantly higher demands for the apple, particularly in Asian and US markets.

Mr Angland said American consumers had picked Envy as their favourite apple over the past few years (US Apple Association) and this year it was named the most preferred apple based on taste, texture and appearance, in independent consumer research conducted in the US.

“The revival of the apple industry is very exciting for the district. The potential is huge.”

Local post-harvest facilities are excellent with Kaiaponi Farms investing in coolstores and packhouse equipment to prepare for future growth.

One of the first growers to have planted Envy, Tim Egan was on Thursday, along with wife Natalya, presented with T&G Gisborne Grower of the Year Cup.

Looking back over the past 10 years Mr Egan said the takeover of T&G by BayWa was a pivotal moment for the Gisborne industry because of the focus on quality and the grower’s ability to match apple supply with global demand, year round.

Mr Egan now has 12 ha of Envy apple trees on his Illawara orchard, along with about 6ha of Jazz variety.

He also invested more than $100,000 into a new motorised apple picking platform that allows workers to pick at three levels while an observer looks at quality control.

He said that was because the focus now was on presenting the “perfect eating apple” rather than the perfect coloured apple.

“What’s actually developed is a really strong relationship with T&G Pipfruit. The benefit for us is we are making really good money out of it and that provides confidence to invest. That turns into employment and we can pay people good money.”

Mr Egan said that made the business more sustainable.

“If you are profitable, you can invest in machinery, you can invest in people and training and we can develop — we are putting in another block of apples and kiwifruit, at the moment.”

T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said there would also be downstream benefits for the region.

“It’s not just on-orchard, it’s post-harvest. You have to have the packing facilities and post-harvest facilities to deal with what comes out of the orchard.”

The company also worked with the Ministry of Social development to provide pastoral support and pathways back to employment for people.

Mr Edgecombe said with new plantings in Gisborne there would be further growth to come for the industry here.

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Margaret H, BoP - 1 month ago
An excellent extention into horticulture and giving work opportunities to many that the Gisborne area badly needs. Congratultions to the Egans.

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