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Organic kiwifruit growers from New Zealand visit the United States
Zespri organic SunGold Kiwifruit growers, Jeff Roderick and Mark and Catriona White, spoke with FreshPlaza during last month’s Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, CA. Roderick and the Whites have been growing organic SunGold Kiwifruit since 1990 and 2011, respectively. “We bought bare land 11 years ago and started growing organic kiwifruit,” says Mark White. “We switched to the SunGold variety in 2011 because of the growing consumer demand for organic.”
Mark and Catriona White and Jeff Roderick; growers of organic SunGold kiwifruit in New Zealand.
Demand for SunGold is rapidly increasing globally. “In the North American market, Zespri’s SunGold Kiwifruit is changing the category due to its sweeter taste and longer shelf life —and consumers can’t get enough,” said White. In response to strong global consumer demand, Zespri will dedicate an additional 50 hectares of licenses to organic SunGold for the next five years. “This is a combination of new growers coming in and existing conventional acreage being converted to organic,” White explained. Currently, New Zealand has about 2,500 kiwifruit growers with 160 of them growing organic.
Extending the Zespri season
Zespri’s kiwi fruit is usually available in stores until November, but it is the company’s goal to extend the season past November and supply consumers with organic and conventional SunGold Kiwifruit well into the winter.
Earlier this year, Mark and Catriona White received a sustainability award. As proud recipients they shared that “sustainability starts at the orchard and goes all the way to the consumer. Not only is the fruit grown organically, the labels are compostable and Zespri has developed a compostable spife made with kiwifruit skin. The plastic packaging is made from up to 90 percent recycled plastic bottles and is 100 percent recyclable.“ Zespri has a commitment to research and development of new technology, including packaging innovation and minimizing waste, to continue enhancing the way they operate across their integrated supply chain.
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