South Canterbury's two big apple growers have experienced mixed seasons. Red Martin, manager of MA Orchards at Levels near Temuka, said they had their best-ever season: 4200 tonnes of Honeycrisp apples harvested this year, well up on the previous year's 2300 tonnes.
Andrew Forward, manager of Waipopo Orchards at Seadown, just north of Timaru, said it had not been quite as successful for them due mainly to wet weather in November and December. ''The wet weather has been bad for us and has affected the final size on our reds although our Braeburns have been OK. We've had 300 bins of Honeycrisps which are in bins that weigh between 300 and 500 kilos.''
Fifty percent of what Waipopo grows on its 80ha orchards is of the Honeycrisp variety, which are transported to T&G Global in Nelson and packed for export to the United States. The remainder are Royal Gala, Red Delicious and Braeburn varieties, which are destined for markets in Asia and Europe and packed at the orchard.
Packing of Royal Gala began at Waipopo this month, and harvesting of Red Delicious and Braeburn will probably begin in the third or fourth week of May. MA Orchards grows only Honeycrisp apples.
Nzherald.co.nz explains that picking started in late February and finished at the beginning of this month.