Exports New Zealand Feijoas

As winter approaches in New Zealand, much of the feijoa crop has been harvested and farmers are either busy or just finished.

Southern Belle Orchard, located in Mata Mata, harvested the last feijoas two weeks ago, and Fran de Jong, owner of the company, said that he would normally expect 30 kg of fruit from a mature tree, although this year strong winds and many cold, dark days in spring affected the pollination process and the yield was 40% lower that season.

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"The fruit has to be harvested when it is almost ripe. Then it has a four-week window to reach the market, so we have to go picking often to harvest the fruit when it is just right," explains Frans. " Research is being carried out on new varieties to extend shelf life. In addition, research is being carried out to optimize storage temperature, which could also extend transport time. "

The whole harvest is done by hand. The pickers know by touch which fruit needs to be picked. Each tree is picked every other day for about three weeks during the season.

The fruit receives post-harvest treatment before it goes to the packing shed; it takes around three days to get from harvest to Auckland for export.

Southern Belle Orchard has planted all of their trees in a trellis system. This gives much higher yields per hectare, higher fruit quality, and reduces labor costs for harvesting and pruning.

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Frans admits that there is a great need to arouse interest in this fruit, especially in the northern hemisphere, as it is not a well-known fruit anywhere in the world. "We must encourage the people there to grow it and try to Get a year-round supply because that's what the retailers want. There are some farmers in Italy and an interest from someone in Azerbaijan! The Chinese fruit growers are also showing interest. "

The greenhouses
As well as Feijoa Orchard, Southern Belle Orchard also has greenhouses producing peppers and chilies. The company doubled the area of ​​the greenhouse in 2014 and now owns 3,000m².

This year the summer was rather gray with a low light intensity. Generally in New Zealand, they don't use artificial lighting in the greenhouses, and Fran said they will try to produce until July this year and extend the season as prices are good as they go into winter. However, this will be very dependent on the light levels.

"Our yield is 40 tonnes per greenhouse, which is really good for New Zealand," explains Frans. "We sell our peppers to high-end retailers and also at the farmers' markets. One variety we grow is the Sweet Palermo which It's still new to New Zealand consumers and the farmers market. When they get a taste of it, they keep coming back for more! It's just getting more popular. "

The greenhouses are heated by a unique hot air system that diffuses the warm air through the greenhouse, which means there are no tubes on the floor, which makes cleaning easier, which also results in low energy costs as the greenhouses are heated with recycled oil, which is repeatedly filtered and is clean, which is also good for the environment as it means that the oil does not have to be disposed of.

In the pepper rows there is a two-layer system based on the plants. The first layer is the heating tape and then the plant layer. Also there are two layers of plastic; the first keeps the heat exactly where it is needed to keep the roots warm to 20-22 ° C.

"We use pumice stone in the base because it can store a lot of water. The pumice stone has been used for ten years. Unlike some greenhouses, these are not sterilized. There is also a compost bag with nutrients in the main tank - a" tea bag Compost ". It also contains seaweed and humic acid."

Predators are used to get rid of pests. However, not all predators can be used in New Zealand, as not all of them can be imported due to the strict bio-safety rules.

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For more information:
Southern Belle Orchard
Tel: +64 7 888 6412
Email: [email protected]