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Farm Visit to Central Organics Apple Orchard in New Zealand

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Written by Susan Simitz Marketing Manager.

Fuji and Jazz Apples packed under the Enza label are grown on the South Island of New Zealand in the beautiful Central Otago Region. I was fortunate to visit Central Organics last fall, which was spring time in the southern hemisphere, and meet the growers Chris and his wife Maree Denniston.  Chris and Maree have been growing a wide variety of organic apples for over 25 years. They also lease and manage other orchard blocks along with the pack house.  The Denniston’s were the first to go organic in their area and they taught themselves everything they know today.  They chose to grow organic to get away from chemicals and create a healthy and sustainable business not only for their environment but for their family.  

Central Otago is known as the hottest, coldest and least windiest area in Zealand but Chris swears the colder weather gives a crunchier crispier apple.  Add in nutrient rich soil and rocks throughout the orchard that keep the site warm on cold days and you have one of the best places to grow apples in New Zealand.  As I walked through the orchards I could see that the trees were full of blossoms.  Soon the trees would need to be thinned so that the tree can expand its energy to grow larger sized fruit.

Maree, Susan from Earl’s, and Chris with their dog Cody

The trees are hand thinned by backpackers and workers from the island of Vanatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean southeast of the Soloman Islands and west of Fiji.  Now months later it is exciting to see and taste these delicious and gorgeous apples I saw starting their life months ago.  Chris and Maree put their heart and soul into each piece of fruit grown in their hectares of apples. We will have plenty of delicious New Zealand Fuji and Jazz apples until the end of August ensuring a smooth transition to our California new crop apples.

Meet the grower Chris Denniston and Jeff McDonald from T&G Global,  who works closely with Chris throughout the season and facilitates the shipping of his delicious apples to the United States.

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